Joan Aiken A Touch of Chill:
Stories of Horror, Suspense and Fantasy
Fontana Lions 1981 (1979)
These fifteen short stories, six published for the first time in this collection, are full of mystery and surprises, not least because UK and US editions feature — apart from a core of eight — different selections. I first read these tales in the early eighties, but apart from the odd déjà-vu moment I regret I didn’t remember any of them in this reread — my failing, not Joan Aiken’s, because these are wonderfully dark narratives.
I don’t know who made the final choice for the order of the UK edition but it was curious that pairs of succeeding stories are often linked — witches both black and white, Irish or Welsh characters, youngsters climbing through windows, murder intentional or otherwise, sinister automatons, and finally tales which somehow become true. But despite commonalities each story is very different, very distinct. Continue reading “Spine tingles”