GREAT BLACK MAGIC STORIES by Michel--Ed. Parry

GREAT BLACK MAGIC STORIES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Better than it sounds, since the flexible editor's admission policy allows anything involving virtually any sort of mumbo-jumbo whatsoever. So, among the thirteen (of course) tales, most of which are from the Thirties, Forties, and Fifties, you can find H. R. Wakefield 's ghostly masterpiece, ""'He Cometh and He passeth By'"" and Anthony Boucher's fetching monster-nonsense, ""They Bite."" Richard Matheson's splendid ""Witch War,"" too, is surely not quite a black-magic entry--more telepathy than voodoo. And Charles Beaumont's ""The New People,"" like at least one or two others, is more about the wayward behavior of would-be black magicians than about successful cauldron bubblings. In fact, the only one of the stories that really fills the bill and also leaves a clear impression is theosophical Madame Blavatsky's ""The Ensouled Violin,"" wherein a violinist challenges Paganini, sure that an instrument strung with the intestines of a great music-teacher cannot fail him. As for the unsuccessful remainder, there's silliness from Sax Rohmer, Feeder Sologub, James Platt, Seabury Quinn, and Aleister Crowley; a faintly anti-semitic snake-charmer wheeze from Dennis Wheatley; an implausibility by Ramsey Campbell; and a Playboy joke by Frederic Brown. In all--as uneven as it is unscary, but those oldiesbut-goodies are nice to have at hand.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1977
Publisher: Taplinger