Mrs Midnight and Other Stories
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A TV reality show host helps to restore an East End music hall and uncovers the dreadful secret of Mrs Midnight and her Animal Comedians. . . . A historian travels to Switzerland to ghost the autobiography of an exiled Balkan king and encounters a sinister cult. . . . The Master of an Oxford college tries to introduce a dubious piece of modern sculpture into his college chapel with dire consequences. . . . A strange meeting takes place on a playing field between an officer on leave from the trenches and his former headmaster. . . .
The settings and characters in Reggie Oliver’s fifth collection of ‘strange’ stories are as varied and unusual as ever, though, as in previous volumes, the theatre forms the milieu of a number of his tales. But the theatres are not just English ones, in the provinces and the West End: one is on the Black Sea; another in post-colonial Kenya. Themes are equally varied, but underlying all is a deep sense of the spiritual under-currents just below the surface of everyday existence, and the precariousness of ‘normality’.
Reggie Oliver is an English playwright, biographer and writer of ghost stories. His work has appeared in a number of anthologies, including the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror and The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror.
Mrs Midnight and Other Stories contains: "Mrs Midnight", "Countess Otho", "Meeting with Mike", "The Dancer in the Dark", "Mr Pigsny", "The Brighton Redemption", "You Have Nothing to Fear", "The Philosophy of the Damned", "The Mortlake Manuscript", "The Look", "The Giacometti Crucifixion","A Piece of Elsewhere", "Minos or Rhadamanthus".
members of the Fire Service, under their leader Captain Shaw, soon had the fire under control and were able to spirit Mr Graham away unseen by the crowd. However Mr Graham is understood to have sustained severe injuries from the blaze and his entire menagerie of “animal comedians” has perished in the conflagration.’ As I was coming out of Colindale with my photocopy of the article I had a brain wave. My last job before TV celebrity took me to its silicone-enhanced bosom was as Showbiz Editor
it looked fixed, as if presented purely for the benefit of the photographers. The couple returned to England later that year and in October Charles rang me. I congratulated him on his marriage. ‘Yes,’ said Charles, ‘Mahalia more or less saved my life as a matter of fact.’ He sounded as if he were debating in his mind whether this had been a good or a bad idea. Then he added: ‘To tell the truth, I’m still a bit run down. Can’t get about much. Would you mind coming down to Stanhill? One or two
but once been afforded a brief glimpse of that elusive document The Mortlake Manuscript, but it was sufficient to convince me. Who among those of us who have seen it would not give all their worldly goods for a further study of such a priceless treasure? ‘Meyrink must have seen it when he became associated with The Golden Dawn,’ said Enoch. ‘Perhaps Crowley himself showed it to him, though there’s no record of them ever meeting. As you know, both Meyrink and Crowley were interested in Dee.
something remained of Tremayne’s De Rerum Umbris. It was a vain hope, of course, and I have already had about as much luck as any academic could hope for. I had made up my mind that my research was now at an end. Evening light filtered through the armorial stained glass windows at the end of the long room, painting the polished floorboards with azure, gules and or. Just as I was about to return the Ashmole manuscripts to the safe keeping of the curator, I noticed that a flimsy scrap of paper had
ungrateful,’ she said. ‘Don’t you agree?’ I smiled, muttered something about checking a prop and left the room. The following afternoon I was back at the Messenger offices. The trial was preceded by the dramatic discovery of love letters from Freda Hartland to Lord Glenross. Though they did not directly incriminate her they provided incontrovertible evidence that the two had been conducting a passionate affair. She was interviewed on a number of occasions by the police, but stuck to her story