Thursday, 6 February 2014

The Christmas Ghost Stories of Lawrence Gordon Clark (Sepctral Press, 2013)

M.R James may not be as well known and excessively collected as a Poe, say, but it's not exactly a quest to find a copy of his Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, and its sequels - and even less so to find the handful of stories which were filmed for the BBC in the 1970s by Lawrence Gordon Clark for Christmas broadcast.

So it's not for Mr James that you might be tempted to pick up a copy of The Christmas Ghost Stories. I mean, it's a lovely looking volume, and those us who appreciate a book almost as much for the look and feel as for the contents might well shell out just on that basis.

But really, it's the added extras, the sections which relate to LGC rather than James, which will sell this book - and rightly so too. This is where small presses win out over large, where enthusiasts publishing books which they are personally committed to defeat corporate cash-ins. From a foreword by Mark Gattis, through a Basil copper adaptation of Count Magnus and introductory essays by Clark himself, by way of newly unearthed photographs, interviews and storyboards, this is a book packed to the rafters and created by someone who really appreciates his subject - and his audience.

Make no mistake, once you own this book you will never need another about these fabulous adaptations or the man behind them.

(Incidentally, for those of you who are buying just for the ghost stories themselves, these are they: The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral, The Treasure of Abbot Thomas, A Warning to the Curious, The Ash Tree, Lost Hearts, Casting the Runes, Count Magnus)

Available from now.