Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Haunting of Chas McGill and other stories - Robert Westall

Robert Westall's The Haunting of Chas McGill and other stories is a collection of eight supernatural short stories. The title story is set before both The Machine Gunners (Review) and Fathom Five (Review). In it Chas has been temporarily evacuated to a local boarding school which is reputed to be haunted. In fact Chas meets the ghost of a WW1 Tommy, who hid at the school and then later hanged himself there. However, Chas interferes in history - somehow and history changes...

The other stories in the collection are "Almost a Ghost story" - about an Abbey which may or may not be haunted by the ghost of a nun.

"The Vacancy" - which is a futuristic SF story that's got quite a gruesome ending.

"The Night Out" - which is a quite sad story about a bunch of bikers.

"The Creatures in the House" - about a creature that feeds on the memories of single women. It's also a story about cats.

"Sea Coal" - which is a time-travel story - also featuring a cat.

"The Dracula Tour" - in which a woman taken on a trip to Bucharest who falls in love with Count Dracula.

and "A Walk on the Wild Side" - about a cat named Rama that can transform itself into a woman.

This is an intriguing collection. I particularly enjoyed "The Night Out", "The Creatures in the House" and "Sea Coal".

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