Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Martin's Close"

"Martin's Close"
from Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, Part 2, by M. R. James

I'm still not sure how I feel about the courtroom transcript format, but I guess it made for a change of pace, if nothing else.  However, the inclusion of (very slight) humor in the courtroom scenes serves to weaken the horror of the story overall. 

Though not (in my opinion, at least) one of James' best, this story does supply a few quite creepy moments.  One or two descriptions in particular reminded me a lot of Dark Water... but told in an old-fashioned, much less graphically gruesome way than is typical of modern horror films.

Interesting tidbit:
Such crimes as this you may perhaps reckon to be not uncommon, and, indeed, in these times, I am sorry to say it, there is scarce any fact so barbarous and unnatural but what we may hear almost daily instances of it.  
Another example of "some things never change"?  Or would M. R. James (or his narrator) be shocked by anything in modern-day crime?