* Prices may differ from that shown
The Casebook of Carnacki the Ghost Finder by William Hope Hodgson contains a number of tales that belong to an almost forgotten genre - that of the 'club story'.
The usual format of this kind of narrative is that the main character relates his experiences in the first person to an assembled group - in this case, a small dinner club - and these stories are usually tall tales of some kind.
Hodgson took this rather contrived and staid format and twisted it in a number of ways, and this makes for a genuinely unsettling read.
Firstly, the eponymous narrator is far from personable: he often speaks rather harshly of characters in the story, and ejects his guests with a precipitate "out you go!" when his story is complete. He has the brusqueness (and the feirce intellect) of a Sherlock Holmes, but no Watson to temper his ire.
Secondly, although Carnacki is a supernatural investigator, his stories sometimes have a natural explanation (sometimes fraud). This makes for tense reading, as you are never sure until the end of the story whether there really is a ghost or monster involved, or some other explanation.
This basic Wordsworth collection contains all of the Carnacki stories in chronological order. Some are better than others, but "The Hog", in particular, is one of the greatest horror stories ever written, in my opinion.The first of these Carnacki stories was published in 1910, and the last (long after Hodgson's death) in 1947.
The first of these Carnacki stories was published in 1910, and the last (long after Hodgson's death) in 1947.
These stories are genuinely scary and diverting, and it is a great shame that Hope Hodgson tragically died so young (he was killed in WWI at the age of 40) with only nine stories about this fascinating character completed.