TalesofTerrorfromtheBlack54074_fThis is not my first exposure to the Gothic creepy tales of Chris Priestley; last year I read and reviewed this, and Tales of Terror from the Black Ship has a very similar structure.

Ethan and Cathy are ill, and have been left home alone by their father who has gone off in search of a doctor. But this is no ordinary home; The Old Inn is perched on top of a cliff which is only joined to the Cornish coastline by a bridge of rock. A huge and powerful storm has blown up and while they wait for their father to return, they are joined by a mysterious stranger called Thackeray, a youngish man who has somehow managed to make his way to the inn through the treacherous weather. He settles in to see out the storm, and to “entertain” the children he tells them creepy stories, all connected with the sea and sailors.

And after that it’s more of the same, which is no bad thing in my book. The stories are nicely unsettling, as is the wraparound tale, because it becomes very clear that something is not quite right in Ethan and Cathy’s world.

Favourites for me were The Boy in the Boat (beware innocent looking little children), Nature (you will never look at snails the same way again, though in all honesty I have trouble looking at them at the best of times), and The Scrimshaw Imp (I didn’t know what scrimshaw was until I read this).

I really enjoyed this book, and the unsettling nature of some of the tales wasn’t lessened by the fact that I was reading it during a more or less sunny late July. Recommended for the Gothic lovers among us, this would have worked really well for Carl’s RIP challenge.

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