Category Archives: mysteries

The Haunted House in the Square, for Halloween

The Empty House  by Algernon Blackwood  (1906)

October’s Short Story for Halloween,  October 21, 2021

 

What could be more satisfying than to read a classic haunted house mystery during Halloween season? Especially a gabled house surrounded by dark gardens that cry out and air fragrant with ruin. Inside lurking staircases flicker shadows, and a faceless clock ticks away on the threshold of midnight.

Dean Koontz says of haunted houses: “We are haunted and regardless of the architecture with which we surround ourselves, our ghosts stay with us until we ourselves are ghosts.” How utterly delightful to be a ghost! Maybe our DNAs truly are blueprints of the past.

One of the absolute finest writers of ghost stories is Algernon Blackwood. Here at Reading Fiction Blog, you will find six of his stories to read for free—because Blackwood is a master at ghosts, psychological chills, and performing the highest atmospherics. He has been considered the foremost British supernaturalist. His skills lie in drawing upon Oriental thought, psychology and philosophy, which bring an intelligence to his stories.

The Empty House is a simple story, a fiction over 100 years old. There was a murder in this house that is now empty and shunned by the village folk.  Aunt Julia and her nephew Jim Shorthouse spend a night in The Empty House.

 

We walk through this house with Aunt Julia and Jim, not as observers, but as participants in seeking the ghost.  The atmospherics do it all to illicit fear  and trembling as the characters engage in the supernatural events. Pay close attention to the narrative closure. It sneaks up on the reader, leaving you breathless in the sea air.

 

The original chatter about this story was that Blackwood personally experienced some of these ghostly events during his ghost hunting work at the Society of Psychical Research in London. We are in a well-written “quiet horror” of supernatural literature.

 

Read it here at Gutenberg.org

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/14471/14471-h/14471-h.htm

 

Listen to the audio on YouTube.com:

 

More of Algernon Blackwood’s free short stories here at Reading Fiction Blog:

Blackwood, Algernon  Ancient Sorceries, February 5, 2013

Blackwood, Algernon  Wood of the Dead, September 9, 2014

Blackwood, Algernon  House of the Past, November 9, 2015

Blackwood, Algernon  The Glamour of Snow,  March 1, 2016

Blackwood, Algernon A Psychological Invasion, Case 1,  June 28, 2016

Blackwood, Algernon  The Willows, October 16, 2018

 

Have a Happy Halloween!

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

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Author of the Week, Dan Simmons, August 9

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   August 9

Dan Simmons

(Short Stories and novels in Suspense, Noir Crime, Supernatural, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Historical and Mainstream Fiction)

 

“I knew that I wanted to be a writer even before I knew exactly what being a writer entailed.”

“There’s a unique bond of trust between readers and authors that I don’t believe exists in any other art form; as a reader, I trust a novelist to give me his or her best effort, however flawed.”

“I find that I write more slowly and carefully, even as the deadlines come more frequently. I’ve never been satisfied with the final form of any of my work, but the dissatisfaction may be deeper now — even as some of the quality goes up — because I know I have fewer years ahead of me in which to improve and make-up for my shortcomings.”

 

Dan Simmons (Born 1948)  is a multi-award winning American author.  His first novel, Song of Kali, won the World Fantasy Award; his first science fiction novel, Hyperion, won the Hugo Award. Most readers know him for winning four Bram Stoker Awards, among many other fiction prizes. One of his favorite authors is Charles Dickens (Drood). His short story The River Styx Runs Upstream was awarded first prize in Twilight Zone Magazine story competition. The Terror and The Abominable are his historical fiction novels.  Stephen King had significant praise for Simmons novels:  “Simmons writes like a hot-rodding angel.”

See all Simmons’ literary awards here, 35+  https://www.sfadb.com/Dan_Simmons

Dan Simmons Interview – Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy Podcast #96 (Discusses horror)

 

Steven Silver interviews Simmons on ScienceFiction.com:

https://www.sfsite.com/09b/ds160.htm 

 

The Crook Factory is about Ernest Hemingway while living in Cuba in the 1940s. Simmons states in the afterward that 95% of the novel is true. The story is a thrilling plot about an FBI agent and Hemingway’s amateur spy ring called Crook Factory in Cuba at the beginning of WW II. “Simmons spins, the zesty characters it entangles and its intricate cross-weave of fact and fiction .” Publishers Weekly

 

In A Winter Haunting, college professor and novelist, Dale Stewart,  has been followed to this house of shadows by private demons who are now twisting his reality into horrifying new forms. And a thick, blanketing early snow is starting to fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Dan Simmons Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Dan-Simmons/e/B000APQZD6/

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author

on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

Comments and LIKES Welcomed!

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Author of the Week, Sarah Waters, August 2

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK,  August 2

Sarah Waters

(Historical Novels)

 

 

“I knew I’d always be a second-rate academic, and I thought, Well, Id rather be a second-rate novelist or even a third-rate one.”

“Respect your characters, even the ­minor ones. In art, as in life, everyone is the hero of their own particular story; it is worth thinking about what your minor characters’ stories are, even though they may intersect only slightly with your protagonist‘s.”

“I never expected my books to do even as well as they have. I still feel grateful for it, every single day.”

 

 

Sarah Waters,  born July 1966, is an award-winning Welsh novelist. She is best known for her novels set in Victorian society. Author of six novels, Tipping the VelvetAffinityFingersmithThe Night Watch and The Little Stranger, which have been adapted for stage, television and feature film in the UK and US. Her novels have been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Women’s Prize for Fiction and she has won the Betty Trask Award; the Somerset Maugham Award; The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award; the South Bank Show Award for Literature and the CWA Historical Dagger.

 The Society of Authors interviews Sarah Waters, “Afternoon Tea”: (45 minutes)

 

 

Visit Sarah Waters Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Waters/e/B001K86U3C

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

 

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The Mysterious Magic Shop

The Magic Shop by H.G. Wells (1903)

Monday’s Tale of Magic  July 26, 2021

 

Conjuring, the real and the unreal, glass balls, demons clinging to a coat sleeve, charming illusions and evil magic. The elements of magic in fiction are often mesmerizing. H.G. Wells takes these powers beyond our normal physical limitations,  doubt, and desires.  Come meet Gip and his father as they enter  The Magic Shop  on Regent Street in London. Gip is a boy who believes in the reality of magic, as all children do in their innocence and trust. But the father wants to draw the line with intelligence and practicality. The Magician’s many marvels carry mysterious weight and entertainment.  Listen for the touch of philosophical talk going on beneath the illusion of The Magician pulling out streams of colored paper from the father’s hat.

“The crumpled paper rose and billowed on the counter more and more and more, until he was nearly hidden from us, until he was altogether hidden, and still his voice went on and on. “We none of us know what the fair semblance of a human being may conceal, sir. Are we all then no better than brushed exteriors, whited sepulchres–“

This is a beautifully written little tale with a thought-provoking ending.  Listening to the audio will capture you!

Read at Online-literature.com:

http://www.online-literature.com/wellshg/10/

 

Listen to the Audio:

 

 

H. G. Wells  (1866-1946) is well known in literature as a futurist and a literary sensation with his sci-fi novels The Time Machine and War of the Worlds.  Mind at the End of Its Tether (1945), his last book, was a vision of the future as nightmare. Author of more than 100 books, he  described his stories as “a miscellany of inventions.” Wells died on Aug. 13, 1946, in London.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For lovers of  H.G Wells, you might like this historical fiction The Haunting of H.G Wells by Robert Masello: A plot against England that even the genius of H. G. Wells could not have imagined.

REVIEW: “Masello takes us on a wild ride through twentieth-century Europe as Wells goes up against foes both physical and paranormal, teaming up with his suffragette partner to save the world. This is history unlike anything you learned in high school.”  Adrienne Procaccini, Editor

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome! Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

 

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

 

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Author of the Week, Jeff VanderMeer, July 19

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   July 19

 

Jeff  VanderMeer

(Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Weird Fiction, Novels and Short Stories, Literary Critic, Editor, Publisher)

 

“Imbuing fiction with a life that extends beyond the last word is in some ways the goal: the ending that goes beyond the ending in the reader’s mind, so invested are they in the story.”

“A dream inspiring a story is different than placing a description of a dream in a story. When you describe a character’s dream, it has to be sharper than reality in some way, and more meaningful. It has to somehow speak to plot, character, and all the rest. If you’re writing something fantastical, it can be a really deadly choice because your story already has elements that can seem dreamlike.”

“Trust your imagination. Don’t be afraid to fail. Write. Revise. Revise. Revise.”

“It is the nature of the writer to question the validity of his world and yet rely on his senses to describe it. From what other tension can great literature be born?”

“Fiction is in constant conversation with itself.”

Jeff  VanderMeer (born  1968) is an American author, NYT bestselling writer, called “the weird Thoreau” by the New Yorker for his engagement with ecological issues. Initially associated with the New Weird literary genre, VanderMeer crossed over into mainstream success with his bestselling Southern Reach trilogy. He also wrote the world’s first fully illustrated creative-writing guide, Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction.  Among VanderMeer’s  novels are Shriek: An Afterword and Borne. He has also edited with his wife Ann VanderMeer such influential and award-winning anthologies as The New Weird, The Weird, and The Big Book of Science Fiction. His nonfiction appears in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, and the Atlantic.com.

Interview with Jeff VanderMeeer (7 minutes):

 

 

The Fictive Imagination in the Dusk of the Anthropocene. Sonic Arts Festival:

 

 

Detective John Finch is about to come face-to-face with a series of mysteries that will change him and Ambergris forever. Why does one of the victims most resemble a man thought to have been dead for a hundred years? What is the murders’ connection to an attempted genocide nearly six hundred years ago? And just what is the secret purpose of the occupiers’ tower? A three-book series.

Visit VanderMeer’s Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Jeff-VanderMeer/e/B000APJW4U

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on

Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

Leave a comment

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Author of the Week, Anthony Horowitz, July 5

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   July 5

Anthony Horowitz

(Mystery, Suspense, Crime Novelist, Screenwriter, and Television Series Author)

“My writing has always been what you call ‘narrative fiction’ in the sense that it’s got very strong plots and twists at the end.”

“Throughout history, story-telling was at the very beginning of life.”

“I fear dying in the middle of a book. It would be so annoying to write 80,000 words and not get to the end. I’m phobic about it. So when I’m writing a book I leave messages all over the house for people to know how the story ends, and then someone can finish it for me.”

“I had three brilliant English teachers at secondary school. They found the writer in me.”

 

 

Anthony Horowitz (born 1955),  English novelist, screenwriter, and children’s novelist, has written more than 50 books including The Magpie Murders,  The Power of Five series, the Alex Rider series, The Diamond Brothers series, and has adapted many of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novels for TV.  He is the creator and writer of  Foyle’s WarMidsomer MurdersCollision, and Injustice.  Also the Hawthorne and Horowitz Mysteries: The Word is Murder; The Sentence is Death; A Line to Kill. In October 2014, the Ian Fleming estate commissioned Horowitz to write a James Bond novel, Trigger Mortis, and Forever and A Day. A third Bond novel is expected to be released sometime in 2022. An underachiever at school, Horowitz started writing at the age of 8 or 9 and he instantly “knew” he would be a professional writer.

 

Interview with Anthony Horowitz about Magpie Murders, film to be released in 2022:

 

Quickfire interview with Horowitz:

https://www.anthonyhorowitz.com/journalism/article/quickfire-interview-anthony-horowitz

 

 

 

 

View his profile page on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Anthony-Horowitz/e/B000AP7TDG

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at

Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a

FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

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Author of the Week, David Baldacci, May 10

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   May 10

David Baldacci

(Fiction: Thrillers, Mysteries, Crime, Adventure)

“If I worried too much about publishers’ expectations, I’d probably paralyze myself and not be able to write anything.”

“What I do in my thrillers is to try and tell a story with characters you care about. A thriller can’t be just plot or just characters, it has to be a combination of both. I could concoct a really great plot but if I put in characters readers don’t really care about, they are not going to finish the book.”

“Why waste time trying to discover the truth, when you can so easily create it?”

Writing Tip: “Don’t know the ending before you start.”

 

David Baldacci (born August 1960) published his first novel, ABSOLUTE POWER, in 1996. A feature film followed, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 41 novels for adults; all have been national and international bestsellers and several have been adapted for film and television. His works of fiction include  The Camel Club, and The Innocent. Baldacci has also published six novels for younger readers.

 

David Baldacci Speaking at Book Event (20 minutes):

Baldacci’s Amazon’s page:

https://www.amazon.com/David-Baldacci/e/B000AQ0STC

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author every week at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

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Author of the Week, Robert Bloch, April 5

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   April 5

Robert Bloch

(Short Stories and Novels: Crime, Horror, Science Fiction Writer)

 

 

“Despite my ghoulish reputation, I really have the heart of a small boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk.”

“Horror is the removal of masks.”

“There’s a great desire to communicate, I think, on the part of all of us. And if we are in situations where the communication is difficult due to difficult circumstances or shyness or an introversion, this is a wonderful outlet. And a direct one.”

 

Robert Albert Bloch (1917 — 1994) was a prolific American writer. Bloch wrote hundreds of short stories, over twenty novels of crime and science fiction, but was most famous for his horror fiction Psycho.

Bloch was one of the youngest members of the Lovecraft Circle, a contributor to pulp magazines such as Weird Tales in his early career.  He received a Hugo Award  for That Hell-Bound Train, the Bram Stoker Award, and the World Fantasy Award. A good friend of the science fiction writer Stanley G. Weinbaum, Bloch wrote three stories for Star Trek.

Listen to Bloch’s Psycho, an audio preview of the novel (15 minutes):

 

Interested in the backstory, the inspiration for Psycho? Read it here at Galaxy Press about the Butcher of Plainfield:

The Backstory to Robert Bloch’s “Psycho”

 

“Horror is not about supernatural forces or things that go bump in the night; horror is about the fear we have within, buried deep in our brains.”

Read more at Lit Reactor about Robert Bloch: https://litreactor.com/columns/footnotes-psycho

 

 

 

More at Bloch Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Robert-Bloch/e/B001K6Q4QW

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author every week at Reading Fiction Blog! And browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

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Author of the Week, Kathryn Craft, March 1

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   March 1, 2021

 

Kathryn Craft

(Author of Psychological and Women’s Literary Fiction)

“Themes of love, death, coming of age, corruption, survival, and heroism were just as riveting to William Shakespeare in the 16th century as they are to today’s novelists. The window dressing may change, but throughout the ages we’ve all been framing the same big ideas.”

For Writers: “Dancers communicate stories all the time without speaking a single word, and the effect can be stunning. Study how they do that.”

“I turned to writing fiction after my first husband’s suicide, sixteen years ago. I had a lingering need to use my writing to form a more hopeful story from the chaos of those events. Penelope Sparrow was my path.”

 

Kathryn Craft writes stories that seek beauty and meaning at the edge of darkness. A native of Syracuse, NY she was a dancer, choreographer, and  dance critic before becoming a writer. Craft is an active member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association and leads writing workshops and retreats. She is published by Sourcebooks Landmark.

 

Cathy Lamb interviews Craft:

Author To Author Interview: Kathryn Craft

The Art of Falling is her first novel. “A sensitive study of a woman choreographing her own recovery.”—Kirkus Reviews.

All Penny has ever wanted to do is dance—and when that chance is taken from her, it pushes her to the brink of despair, from which she might never return. 

 

The Far End of Happy was named as the Ten Books You Should Be Reading by the Huffington Post.

Twelve tense hours, three women, and the suicide standoff that turns one family’s little piece of heaven into a scene from hell.

 

“Craft presents her mesmerizing characters with depth, understanding, and ethos.” – Lana Kay Rosenberg, artistic director, Miami University Dance Theatre

 

Visit Kathryn Craft’s Amazon page here: https://www.amazon.com/Kathryn-Craft/e/B00DLI9GE4

Blog and website: http://www.kathryncraft.com/

You can find her blog posts at Writer Unboxed: https://writerunboxed.com/kathryn/

 

Craft is also a contributor in Author in Progress, from the Writer Unboxed Community.

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author every week at Reading Fiction Blog! Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

Once a month I feature a FREE short story by

contemporary and classic authors.

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Author of the Week, Patrick McGrath, Feb. 8

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   February 8, 2021

 

Patrick McGrath

 

 

 

“It has seemed to me that for a long time the writer and the psychiatrist have been up to very similar things in terms of the exploration of human dysfunction. The writer wants to create forms of entertainment and to give pleasure, the psychiatrist is engaged in a therapeutic task. But we are both essentially engaged in the exploration of human nature.”

 

“Houses, I have come to believe, like love, like nature herself, should not reassure, should not attempt to soothe, or give comfort, but should, rather, excite.”

 

Patrick McGrath (born February 1950) is the author of several modern Gothic novels, including Asylum and Spider, and two collections of stories. He lives in New York, where he is on the writing faculties of the New School and Princeton University.

 

 

Listen to an interview (8 minutes) at “Don’t Lecture Me” about his book Trauma 

 

Readers, if you are like me, a lover (and a writer too) of Gothic novels and especially ghost stories, you might enjoy reading Patrick McGrath’s stories. Gothic novels allow us to explore deep into the imagination in  worlds beyond the norm with a dash of horror, romance, and sometimes curses and madness. What fun!

 

 

 

View more of his books on Amazon, on Patrick McGrath’s profile page; https://www.amazon.com/Patrick-McGrath/e/B000AP7ISC

 

Join me in my reading nook and discover an author every week at Reading Fiction Blog! And browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

Leave a comment

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