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CURFEW & OTHER EERIE TALES
by Lucy M. Boston

Introduction by Robert Lloyd Parry
Cover image by Elisabeth Vellacott
First Printing: August 2011 (350)
Second Printing: May 2014
Style: Dust jacketed hardback
Length: xix + 195 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9566587-1-5

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" . . . his eye sockets were appallingly hollow, and he lifted his chin as the blind do when they seek." — from "Curfew"

Lucy M. Boston is best remembered today as the Carnegie Medal-winning author of a series of children's novels set in Green Knowe, an ancient, haunted house based on Hemingford Grey Manor near Huntingdon, Cambridge. She began writing these chilling tales when she was already in her sixties, but they were not her first attempts at fiction. A handful of supernatural tales dating from the early 1930s exist among her papers, and these are here published together for the first time, along with her only play, The Horned Man, which has been out of print since 1970. An introduction by Robert Lloyd Parry considers the literary influences on these works and looks at them in the context of Boston's personal life.

Of the short stories in this volume only three have been published before — "Curfew", "The Tiger-Skin Rug" and "Many Coloured Glass" — all having appeared originally in long out of print anthologies for children. Children play pivotal roles in the first two of these stories, but there is nothing specifically juvenile about their language or themes, nothing to exclude them from a mature bookshelf. Indeed in her use of children as witnesses and victims of the supernatural, Boston was — consciously or otherwise — emulating that other great East Anglian supernaturalist, M. R. James.

Boston's debt to James, in fact, runs deep. The stories collected here offer the same unmistakeable, inexplicable malice that we find in James, and the same lurking feeling of terror: what Boston calls in "Curfew" the "thrill, or chill, of expectation". And like James's most celebrated stories, most of those collected here centre around antiquarian objects — an old bell, a rug bought at auction, an intricately carved desk left in a house by a previous occupant — curious trouvιs, artefacts of the past that carry more than memories with them.

Contents
Introduction by Robert Lloyd Parry
Curfew
Pollution
Blind Man's Buff
Many Coloured Glass
The Italian Desk
The Tiger-Skin Rug
The Horned Man: A Play in Two Acts
Acknowledgements

Lucy M. Boston (1892 – 1990) was born in Southport, Lancashire. She studied English at Oxford and served as a nurse in France, before settling in Cheshire towards the end of the First World War. After her marriage broke down in 1935 she trained as a painter in Europe, eventually returning to England on the eve of the Second World War. In 1939 she bought the eleventh century Manor in Hemingford Grey, Cambridgeshire, which was her home and literary inspiration until her death. It is the setting of her much-loved series of Green Knowe novels for children, and is now open to visitors. For more details see www.greenknowe.co.uk.







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