What do I have on the shelves for the R.I.P. Season ….. ?

rip10500

Banner by Abigail Larson

I couldn’t resist the annual invitation – sent out this year by The Estella Society – to read certain kinds of books in September and October, as the nights draw in:

Mystery
Suspense
Thriller
Dark Fantasy
Gothic
Horror
Supernatural

I never can resist making a list, and so I looked around the house and I pulled together a lovely pile of possibilities. Each and every one is calling me. I may not read them all, and, because I’m only listing books I can see on my shelves, I made read others that I haven’t spotted or that I can bring home from the library. But I will read some of them this season, and I’ll read all of them sooner or later.

* * * * * * *

THE FIRST BOOK THAT CAME INTO MY HEAD TO PUT ON THIS LIST

This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart

When Lucy Waring’s sister Phyllida suggests that she join her for a quiet holiday on the island of Corfu, young English Lucy is overjoyed. Her work as an actress has temporarily come to a halt. She believes there is no finer place to be “at liberty” than the sun-drenched isle of Corfu, the alleged locale for Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Even the suspicious actions of the handsome, arrogant son of a famous actor cannot dampen her enthusiasm for this wonderland in the Ionian Sea. But the peaceful idyll does not last long. A series of incidents, seemingly unconnected – but all surrounded in mystery – throws Lucy’s life into a dangerous spin, as fear, danger and death – as well as romance – supplant the former tranquility. Then a human corpse is carried ashore on the incoming tide… And without warning, she found she had stumbled into a nightmare of strange violence, stalked by shadows of terror and sudden death.

* * * * * * *

THE BOOK  WITH A FASCINATING PREMISE, BY AN AUTHOR WHO WAS A BEST SELLER IN HER DAY BUT FELL INTO OBSCURITY

'The Masquerader' - or 'John Chilcote, M. P' - by Katherine Cecil Thurston

This is the story of two men of totally different characteristics and identical physical endowments, who bargain to exchange places. The exchange allows one the liberty to indulge his craving for opium, the other an opportunity to satisfy his ambition for statesmanship and a public career. John Chilcote, M. P., rich, aristocratic and prominent in the social and political world, encounters by chance in a London fog his double, John Loder, poor, obscure and without friends. The fragmentary conversation which takes place at their meeting reveals to Chilcote the other’s ambition, and to Loder the secret of his companion’s weakness for morphia.

* * * * * * *

THE BOOK BY AN AUTHOR I’VE READ ONCE AND ALWAYS MEANT TO READ AGAIN

'The Seance' by John Harwood

Wraxford Hall, a decaying mansion in the English countryside, has a sinister reputation. Once, a family disappeared there. And now Constance Langton has inherited this dark place as well as the mysteries surrounding it. Having grown up in a house marked by the death of her sister, Constance is no stranger to mystery, secrets, and the dark magic around us. Her father was distant. Her mother was in perpetual mourning for her lost child. In a desperate attempt to coax her mother back to health, Constance took her to a seance hoping she would find supernatural comfort. But tragic consequences followed, leaving her alone in the world– alone with Wraxford Hall. Saddled with this questionable bequest, she must find the truth at the heart of all these disappearances, apparitions, betrayal, blackmail, and villainy, even if it costs her life.

* * * * * * *

THE BOOK BY A WOMAN WHO ADOPTED A MALE PSEUDONYM, REISSUED AS A HONNO CLASSIC

'A Welsh Witch' by Allen Raine

The sea-side village of Treswnd has elected Catrin as its scapegoat, shunning and stoning her as a witch. In bitter isolation Catrin internalises the idea of herself as damned and outcast, but her loneliness is eased by a growing friendship with Goronwy, to whom she starts to reveal the hidden wonders of the natural world with which she has become familiar. In particular she is well-acquainted with the underground waterways of the ‘Deep Stream’ lying beneath Treswnd, a zone of darkness bestrewn with wrecks and human skeletons.

* * * * * * *

THE BOOK BY AN AUTHOR WHO WOULD GO ON TO WRITE VERY DIFFERENT BOOKS, FOR CHILDREN AND FOR ADULTS

'Death on Tiptoe' by R C Ashby (Ruby Ferguson)

The classic ingredients of the traditional country house-party whodunnit are transformed into a deliciously different Gothic murder mystery with literary allusions galore. Against the backdrop of the crumbling Cleys Castle on the Welsh Border Marches, lowering with centuries of dark brooding menace, the house-party guests dress up in ancient Tudor costumes for a spooky game of hide-and-seek – in the dark. It should come as no surprise when this leads to trouble. Gradually the veneer of upper-class well-mannered sophistication disintegrates, exposing dark secrets, greed and ruthless ambition. Keep the lights on.

* * * * * * *

THE BOOK I HAVE STILL TO READ BY AN AUTHOR WHO IS THE MASTER OF HIS ART

'In a Glass Darkly' by J S Le Fanu

This remarkable collection of stories, first published in 1872, includes Green Tea, The Familiar, Mr. Justice Harbottle, The Room in the Dragon Volant, and Carmilla. The five stories are purported to be cases by Dr. Hesselius, a ‘metaphysical’ doctor, who is willing to consider the ghosts both as real and as hallucinatory obsessions. The reader’s doubtful anxiety mimics that of the protagonist, and each story thus creates that atmosphere of mystery which is the supernatural experience.

* * * * * * *

THE NEWISH BOOK BY THE AUTHOR OF A MUCH, MUCH BIGGER BOOK THAT I WILL READ ONE DAY, WHEN I CAN GIVE IT THE TIME AND ATTENTION IT DESERVES

'Rustication' by Charles Palliser

It is winter 1863, and Richard Shenstone, aged seventeen, has been sent down — “rusticated” — from Cambridge under a cloud of suspicion. Addicted to opium and tormented by sexual desire, he finds temporary refuge in a dilapidated old mansion on the southern English coast inhabited by his newly impoverished mother and his sister, Effie. Soon, graphic and threatening letters begin to circulate among his neighbors, and Richard finds himself the leading suspect in a series of crimes and misdemeanors ranging from vivisection to murder.

* * * * * * *

THE BOOK BY THE SISTER OF A MORE FAMOUS BROTHER THAT ALFRED HITCHCOCK WOULD LATER FILM

'The Lodger' by Marie Belloc Lownes

An elderly couple living in Victorian London struggle against despair as their small resources dwindle. When a mysterious gentleman answers their advertisement for a lodger, they celebrate. But as women begin dying at the hands of The Avenger, they start to suspect something too horrific for words.

* * * * * * *

THE BOOK BY AN AUTHOR I USED TO LOVE, BUT HAVEN’T READ FOR A LONG, LONG TIME

'The Mesmerist' by Barbara Wood

Unable to find stage work, actresses Cordelia Preston and Rillie Spoons need to find a way of making a living. Cordelia remembers the skills of her aunt and sets out to be a phreno-mesmerist, advising couples on their compatibility and enlightening women on The Gentle Intricacies of the Wedding Night’. Cordelia finds that she does indeed possess the gift for mesmerism, and as her popularity grows, she and Rillie are finally living their dream. But events from Cordelia’s past return to haunt her, and the women become embroiled in a scandal that threatens to ruin not only them but those they love…

* * * * * * *

THE BOOK I STARTED, LOVED, AND DECIDED I SHOULD SAVE FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR

'The Uninhabited House' by Charlotte Riddell

Slowly, but surely, the conviction had been gaining upon me that, let the mystery of River Hall be what it would, no ordinary explanation could account for the phenomena which it had presented to tenant after tenant; and my own experiences in the house, slight though they were, tended to satisfy me there was something beyond malice or interest at work about the place.

* * * * * * *

THE BOOK FROM A SERIES THAT I REALLY WANT TO KEEP READING

The Water Room by Christoper Fowler

They are living legends with a reputation for solving even the trickiest cases using unorthodox, unconventional, and often completely unauthorized methods. But the Peculiar Crimes Unit headed by Detectives John May and Arthur Bryant is one mistake away from being shut down for good. And when the elderly sister of Bryant’s friend is found dead in the basement of her decrepit house in Kentish Town, they find themselves on the verge of making exactly that mistake.According to the coroner, Ruth Singh’s heart simply stopped beating. But why was a woman who rarely left the house fully dressed for an outing? And why was there river water in her throat? Convinced that the old lady didn’t die a natural death, the detectives delve into a murky case with no apparent motive, no forensics, and no clues.

* * * * * * *

THE BOOK I READ YEARS AGO AND REALLY WANT TO READ AGAIN

'East Lynne' by Ellen Wood

When the aristocratic Lady Isabel abandons her husband and children for her wicked seducer, more is at stake than moral retribution. Ellen Wood played upon the anxieties of the Victorian middle classes who feared a breakdown of the social order as divorce became more readily available and promiscuity threatened the sanctity of the family. In her novel the simple act of hiring a governess raises the spectres of murder, disguise, and adultery. Her sensation novel was devoured by readers from the Prince of Wales to Joseph Conrad and continued to fascinate theatre-goers and cinema audiences well into the next century

* * * * * * *

And that’s my pool of books!

Now, please tell me:

Do you have any seasonal reading plans?

Do you have a particular favourite book or author to recommend?

* * * * * * *

24 thoughts on “What do I have on the shelves for the R.I.P. Season ….. ?

  1. I very much enjoyed some of Robert Aickman’s strange tales last autumn. I must try and join in with this and have one novel I’m very much looking forward to on the pile that fits well – The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard which sounds like a French response to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

    Like

    1. Aickman has been on my wishlist since I read your review and he would be a lovely fit, but I’m trying to be strict and make my choices from only what I have on the shelves and already download. Though a French response to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is something I must investigate and might not be able to resist.

      Like

      1. Trying to comment having linked old and new WP accounts now. This book just had to mention Great Magician’s War and Paris and I thought – must read! (I’ll be reviewing it for Shiny in Oct)

        Like

  2. What a lovely list, Jane – they sound fascinating! I’m easing into autumn with Dickens, and also just picked up Gogol’s “Dead Souls” for a re-ead – so both slightly darker books.

    Like

    1. That is a lovely way to begin autumn. I’m planning more Russians next year – War and Peace, The Enchanted Wanderer and maybe Oblomov, and for now there are so many stories of mystery and intrigue calling for my attention, as well as the books I didn’t quite get to for All Virago All August. Lovely but also a little scary!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I only know Le Fanu, so I want you to read all these books and tell me more about them. 🙂 I have a bunch of classics on my list for fall and hope to start my participation in the RIP challenge with Flannery O’Connor.

    Like

    1. I’ve leaned a little towards the lesser-known this year, and I’ll read and tell you more about as many as I can. You’ll be telling me more too, because I don’t know Flannery O’Connor at all, and I’ve always felt that I should.

      Like

  4. That’s a great list! I love John Harwood’s books and I think you’ll enjoy The Seance. I haven’t read Rustication yet but I did read The Quincunx by Charles Palliser years ago and loved it – I was considering re-reading it for R.I.P. but the length is putting me off.

    Like

  5. I should really join in with this challenge as I love scary, atmospheric, dark books – I’ll have to see if anything calls my name over the next couple of months. It would be a great time for me to read another Mary Stewart. I have not read This Rough Magic – very interested to see what you think!

    Like

  6. They all sound suitably gothic and mysterious reading for Autumn and the R.I.P event. I am particular happy to see a Mary Stewart novel and The Séance on your list. I also have a Stewart novel in mind for this event too. Happy reading!

    Like

  7. I’m not a one for vampire stories (overdone, far too many derivative, potboily. But i did make an exception for the very long The Historian by Elisabeth Kostova. It’s tempting to re-read. And Michelle Paver’s Dark Matter is perfect for the time of year. Also Susan Hill’s Woman In Black. I think I have the seance, might re-read

    Like

  8. Last month I spotted John Harwood’s ‘The Asylum’ on sale at a chain bookshop for five dollars. Instantly knew it would be my R.I.P read for October…can’t wait! Cue the howling winds and flickering candles….

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am so looking forward to the RIP again and funnily I was thinking of reading In a Glass Darkly…..lovely selections Jane! I will put my choice up in a couple of day! Happy Ripping! 🙂

    Like

  10. Eeps – scary and not for me (but then again, I bet I have a little Arnaldur Idriðason season all of my own this autumn!). I love the autumn but not scary books – I’m looking forward to my work life settling down a bit so my reading life can get back on track – and it’s time to start the final Galsworthy trilogy this month …

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s