I’ve always believed that old things are haunted but I never realized that the quiet little world of antique buying and selling was so cut-throat!
I listened to this collection of eerie stories on unabridged audio. They’re all stories about antique dealer Geoff Ashton, except for one or two that are stories told to him or are about a close relative. My copy was narrated by R.C. Bray whose voice is wizened and quite perfect for this book about old stuff.
The Devil and Clocky Watson This first story introduces us to Geoff. He’s an honest dealer just trying to make a living but others, namely a shifty character named Clocky Watson, cheat the system. Geoff attempts to get back at Clocky in what he thinks is the most fitting of ways but things go awry. This tale, like all the stories that follow, is eerie and dripping with creepy atmosphere. 4.5 Stars
The Doll Geoff realizes that old dolls = $$ and buys a large collection of them from a boozy widow for a song but trouble soon follows. Creepy dolls will always be creepy and this story is no exception. There were two points here where frighteningly loud music was piped in and it nearly made me pee my pants and overrode the narration. Beware! This one was probably my favorite. 5 Stars
The Last Day of Miss Dorinda Molyneaux This story was about a creepy old church, desecrated graves, unnerving goings-on and Miss Dorinda Molyneaux.
The Dumbledore This one simply wasn’t meant for me and it more than likely comes down to a matter of taste and my lack of it. The Dumbledore was a watering hole for men during war times. It's about secrets, war heroes and a young boy named Little Tex. 3 Stars
The Woolworth Spectacles This one features Geoff’s cousin and was much more my speed. Shy Maude's always been told that "men don't make passes at girls who wear glasses". But then she finds a pair of spectacles at Woolworth's (that's an old department store for you youngin's) left behind by an old woman and puts them on her face.
And she can see the world in wondrous detail! Initially she’s pretty thrilled but then people start looking at her differently. Crude work-men leer at her and she is unsettled. Soon, though, she finds her power over men a little intoxicating and begins to use it even to her advantage even though she knows deep down that this is very unlike her. She revels in it anyway and it leads to disaster. I liked this story quite a bit and found Maude’s personality change both organic and frightening. 5 Stars
Portland Bill Geoff is on vacation with his wife, who has meandered off to do things without him. Before long, he finds a beautiful and distraught woman who begs for help. Her son has gone missing and Geoff being the dirty, old, and let’s not forget MARRIED perv that he is, has lustful thoughts about her even though she’s frantic to find her son.
“My bowels moved with lust for her.”
Oh Geoff, you sexy beast, however did you convince a woman to marry you?
Despite his pervy thoughts, he’s not so bad a guy and decides to help her out. When the townsfolk and police brush him off Geoff starts to have ominous feelings about the situation. Haunting and, like all the rest, beautifully atmospheric. 4 Stars
The Ugly House I listened to this one twice because when I sat down to write this up, I couldn’t remember a thing about it and figured I had sleep-walked through it. Now after the 2nd listen and writing all of the above, I still can’t remember much about it besides the fact that there was a building inspector and an ugly house that Would Not Be Demolished and damned if I can remember anything else about it.
Guess it wasn’t meant for me. 3 Stars
I’d easily recommend this collection to anyone looking for slower paced, old-style horror that crawls under your skin and creeps you out.
Audiobook #2: Audiobook Challenge