COLD HAND IN MINE by Robert Aickman


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Eight ""strange"" stories--the best of which leave their weird happenings utterly unexplained, with some supernatural (or perhaps paranoiac) force clearly at work but none that can be tagged with a source or a genre. The weakest entry--and, unfortunately, one of the longest--is the diary of an Anglo lass who is traveling en famille through Italy when Byron was the rage; it takes far too many girlish burbles before she's met the dashing gent who claims to be ""very, very old"" and leaves her with the all-too-expected wound on the neck and appetite for other necks. Much more idiosyncratically inveigling are a phoneless hotel where everyone eats ravenously and never leaves (except by hearse); a lady-in-the-Bavarian-lake who takes a Jaws-like bite out of one brother but isn't truly satisfied till another brother surrenders, boat and all; a German war bride in England who collects cuckoo clocks and entertains an elusive clock repairman; an enormous yellow dog that kills a schoolgirl--or a schoolgirl who runs off with an enormous yellow dog? Aickman writes far richer, subtler prose than most super-horror practitioners; in place of terrifying climaxes and satisfyingly releasing denouements (which many will miss), he offers inventions that puzzle--and sometimes confuse--from beginning to end and don't really frighten unless and until their unanswered questions creep back into consciousness.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Scribners