Review of ‘Sunless Solstice’ edited by Lucy Evans and Tanya Kirk

A fab collection of spooky seasonal stories. They’re ideal if you want to read something darker for Christmas. Surprisingly, only two of these twelve stories are by famous authors (Muriel Spark and Daphne du Maurier), as there is usually more of a balance between well-known and more obscure writers in volumes of this series (British Library Tales of the Weird). The stories span 1893 to 1974. I have marked those I liked best with asterisks.

‘The Ghost at the Cross-Roads’ by Frederick Manley – supernatural Irish story with a moral message

‘The Blue Room’ by Lettice Galbraith – excellent gothic tale narrated by a housekeeper *

‘On the Northern Ice’ by Elia Wilkinson Peattie – sad atmospheric tale *

‘The Black Cat’ by W J Wintle – a man is terrorised by a demonic cat *

‘Ganthony’s Wife’ by E Temple Thurston – strange modern ghost story

‘Mr Huffam’ by Hugh Walpole – socially-conscious story with a literature theme

‘The Man Who Came Back’ by Margery Lawrence – creepy spiritualism-themed story

‘The Third Shadow’ by H Russell Wakefield – weird tale of mountaineering and misogyny

‘The Apple Tree’ by Daphne du Maurier – fantastic longer story, the best in the collection *

‘The Leaf-Sweeper’ by Muriel Spark – unusual satirical piece *

‘The Visiting Star’ by Robert Aickman – strange theatrical tale

‘A Fall of Snow’ by James Turner – very chilling story, brilliantly written *

This collection is perhaps not quite as memorable as Chill Tidings but I certainly recommend it. I also liked the mini introductions, which were spoiler-free.

Published in 2021 by the British Library.

Leave a Reply