Free from Friday 8th to Tuesday 12th December.
A wry-humoured festive ghost story, in which a snobbish English theatre critic and his wife find themselves enjoying the Victorian Christmas market in the little-known Dorset town of Grimstone Peverell. Chilled to the marrow, they retire to the town’s minster where they are accosted by a pious and enthusiastic guide, who knows a great deal about some things, yet next to nothing about that which would, to most people, seem obvious; she seems determined not to let them go, but return to London they must – Lionel has a play to review.
The author’s childhood and formative years were spent in the English West Country, a region in which reality and fantasy are frequently confused, and where what elsewhere would be taken as peculiar, regarded as nothing more than an everyday occurrence. Soaked in myth, folklore and cider, his imagination eventually whirred into life and prompted him to pen, or at least type, a number of understated tales of the uncanny, drawing upon his wry observations of esoteric subcultures and beliefs, and the rich store of lore that seems locked into the land itself.
From the mist, the frost, and the wind, comes something ambling through the murk, seeking to ensnare the unwary: a village cunning man; a malignant Jacobean mannequin; a psychedelic Crowley wannabe; the sickle-wielding spirit of old Dorset; a pious guide who emerges from the fabric of a venerable minster; a mediaeval animalistic heretic with a still beating heart. Ghost stories, bizarre rites, and mental disintegration populate a world in which the living and the dead meet in an eternal present, and the author dares – the most horrific thing of all – to use adverbs where appropriate.
His tales have frequently been compared to the likes of those encountered in ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ and ‘The Twilight Zone’, but the Bulstrodian world, as you will discover, is a realm unto itself, and quite distinct from either.
He is currently working on a number of future publications, including ‘At Fall of Night’, a sordid slice of ghostly Victorian Gothic; ‘Upon Barden Moor’, an occult mystery set in Edwardian Yorkshire, and a full-length novel entitled ‘Gwen Gwinnel’s Return’. The latter, which may be characterised as a novel of superstition, piracy, and religious fanaticism, opens in the village of Porthcarrack, Cornwall, on a damp and chilly day in April 1676, amidst an atmosphere of unease unleashed by a supernatural visitation. It will be published in 2018.