Baffled tourists in an unnamed city step into another world when they visit a crumbling hotel.
The Grand Hotel is in such disrepair that passersby often don’t know whether the building is actually in use or not. With a flick of a light switch, the all-but-invisible desk manager inevitably startles everyone who ventures in. But when he reassuringly welcomes a group of tourists, he explains that in its heyday the hotel entertained kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers. Besides, it has 333 1/3 rooms, and at least some of them have permanent guests with strange histories. One is Mr. Pence, who doesn’t tell his story outright because he’s a corpse. Yet for 50 years, the food delivered to his room has always been eaten, and his bill has always been paid. The next guest the tourists visit is Mr. Orin, whose tale is not your usual fish story. Ms. Kvasov, who lives in a room full of lifelike dancing wooden mannequins, shares a tale of extortion and revenge, while Detective Click reminisces about a strange case in a haunted house in Chicago. As the desk manager, who comes to be known as Vick, leads the visitors to a succession of residents, all of whom share their bizarre experiences—a conspiracy aboard a secret space ship; a reality show called Ghost Chef filmed in the Outer, Outer Hebrides; a violin with a life of its own; a vengeful spirit in a metal mask—Vick tells the tourists that all ghosts want something. He wants something, too; he’s testing the tourists, especially a precocious redheaded girl. And as his role at the hotel becomes clearer, so do his intentions in this series of clever occult vignettes inspired by a real-life ancient story cycle.
Kenemore (Zombie, Indiana, 2014, etc.) crafts a series of witty, deliciously creepy tales whose larger story arc is built on growing suspense about the fate of one of the hotel’s visitors.