A BOOK OF SPOOKS AND SPECTRES by Ruth Manning-Sanders

A BOOK OF SPOOKS AND SPECTRES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Manning-Sanders' latest collection of 23 stories, culled mostly from European sources, begins with an English tale that proves her telling to be as nimble as ever and her hero as cavalier about the usual rewards. (After crafty old Tommy traps a house-haunting specter in a bottle, he turns down the landlord's offer to let him occupy the house rent free, but accepts the gardener's cottage and the job of head gardener.) In a story from Bohemia, the act of heroism that wins the beautiful miller's daughter is actually performed by a kindly spook in the hero's shape. But as Ludomilla later remarks to her loving husband, ""Why would you fret yourself? Rubizan [the spook] has sent me a husband to love, and he has sent my father a son-in-law whom he admires and trusts. So what else matters?"" In an introduction, Manning-Sanders distinguishes between spooks, who have always been spooks and are mostly happy, and specters, who are dead humans kept out of heaven and hell and are usually unhappy. The two types make for a briskly varied sampling, with some specters foiled and some reaching heaven and others the subjects of delicious horror tales or humorous cautionary ones-while in alternate stories spooks romp mischievously or aid deserving and undeserving humans. As ever, sparkling entertainment.

Pub Date: Jan. 24th, 1980
Publisher: Dutton