Friday 14 January 2011

Friday's Tale of Mystery

Whilst sorting out our garage last week, I came across this book amongst my late father in law's belongings. I couldn't part with it once I realised the authors that were hiding amongst the short stories within it.
 The book dates back to 1934, so hubby is convinced it belonged to his grandparents. It is in fantastic condition and smells that lovely old book smell. It also has pictures printed in it, where the next page is then blank.
 The book is broken up into three sections of short stories:
  1. Stories of Mystery and Adventure
  2. Stories of Crime and Detection
  3. Stories of the Supernatural
The book consists of short stories by literary greats such as Bram Stoker, Wilkie Collins and H.G. Wells.
So after taking a little look through it, I decided that I would try to read and review a short story from it every week.  I don't normally read many short stories but I thought that perhaps it was about time to change that. As the stories are quite old, I thought I would try and find free links to the stories in case you felt the urge to the read them too.
There are 51 short stories altogether, so I aim to read and review one a week up until Christmas.

The first story I read from this book is called Miss Bracegirdle Does Her Duty by Stacy Aumonier.

I tried to find some of Aumonier's longer works, but seemed to only come across his short stories.

Mrs Bracegirdle is the sister of an English clergyman who was the only person available to travel on her own to a hotel in Bordeaux to meet her sister in law returning from South America . She arrives late at the hotel, exhausted and desperate for a bath. When she closes the door of her room after returning from a bath, she finds a man asleep in the bed. She realises then she is in the wrong room, but the door handle has come off in her hand, and she can’t get out. Then she discovers the man is dead.

Mrs Bracegirdle is a wonderful character. She is a God fearing, church going spinster who instantly realises what a terrible situation she has landed in. She is not about to make a spectacle of herself by screaming, as she does not want to cause a scandal for her family.  In a few short pages you get a real feel of the character and I can only commend Aumonior for a wonderful character study.   I could feel the pain her dilemma was causing her right from the start.

The story has a real twist at the end, that I was expecting at all. The story gripped me right from the beginning and I really enjoyed the ending. For such a short story, it was packed full of tension and drama. Oh and did I mention the fantastic twist! Sorry, I know I did, but it was brilliant.

I tried to find this story online but I am afraid I couldn't find it. If anyone has read it online, let me know and I will add the link to the post.
Mrs Bracegirdle was made into a TV drama by Alfred Hitchcock in the first series of 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Has anyone read any of Aumonier's short stories, if you have let me know as I would be interested in reading more.


  1. sounds like a great mystery. Will have to remember to stop by on friday and read your reviews on it.

  2. Wow what a great find! I've recently discovered that I like short stories, they're something I previously thought I didn't like (all that stop start stuff). I was wrong, they are great. Looking forward to reading more of your reviews from this collection.

  3. wow! that book is pure gold! Congrats on the find and I hope you enjoy all the stories!!!

  4. What a beautiful book - such a lucky find! Too bad this story isn't available online, but I'm sure others will be. Can't wait for the next installment :-)

  5. What a treasure you found! I've never read any of Aumonier's work.

  6. Aren't finds like this awesome? This is exactly the type of thing I was talking about in my Sunday post a few weeks ago regarding ereaders and passing books to future generations. Hope you enjoy the stories inside!

  7. what a cool find Viv!
    I havent read Aumonier but I did find a new short story site online and just posted a review today.
    Happy reading :)


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