Sunday, 17 June 2012

James Lamp

Fiction ~ short story
First published in Weird Tales (USA), June 1930
Collected in More Spook Stories (1934)
5,560 words
(First read 17/06/2012) 

In this one our intrepid Unidentified Narrator goes to stay with his retired doctor pal in Rye¹.  The wife of the pal's manservant (James Lamp) has just disappeared; it's known that she was having an affair with a chap from Hastings and that Lamp wasn't best pleased about it.  Pal and U.N. have a few sightings of a mysterious woman; Lamp is jittery.  One night our two gents awake to find the house full of fog and the manservant being coerced out by his revenant old lady.  The twist ~ if you can call it that ~ in this one is that Mrs Lamp's ghost doesn't come back merely to point the finger at the hubby who bumped her off: she comes back to take him with her to t'other side ~ their bodies are found in a sluice the following morning.
A very characteristic EFB spook story in that (1) it's entirely predictable, and (2) the tension level remains firmly at zero throughout.
The one novel thing ~ a house which has uncannily filled with fog ~ is under-exploited.  In fact, it's not exploited at all: it's made to seem positively routine.  HoHum.
It's available online here.

¹ Renamed Trench for this particular occasion.

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