Chris Priestley: Uncle Montague's Tales . . .

<p><em>Benedicte Page writes:</em></p>
<p>I was sitting in the office late one night, writing my blog for The Bookseller magazine. It was unusually quiet; my colleagues having all departed for the excitements of launch parties or the quiet seclusion of home. As I worked diligently at my task, I began to experience the strangest sensation that I was not alone - but each time I lifted my head I saw that there was nobody there. It was only gradually that I became aware of a shadow in the corner of the office, a curious amorphous shape that seemed to shift and... OK, OK! I admit it. I have always been a fan of Victorian ghost stories and I have been spending far too much time reading <em>Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror </em>(Bloomsbury, October) by Chris Priestley. <br />
<img width="240" vspace="10" hspace="10" height="240" align="left" src="/documents/UserContributed/51wLTq1bfcL-1__AA240_.jpg" alt="&quot;&quot;" /> This is a book for kids (10 plus), with thrilling and horrible tales of boys and girls finding themselves prey to ghostly visitations and demonic possessions, but much more in the M R James tradition of gentle (but effective) gothic chills than the upfront gore of someone like Darren Shan. There's a story about a con-artist spiritualist being caught out by a real-life ghost; another about a gilt frame which brings havoc to the house in which it is introduced; and one particularly grisly tale, not to be read before walking up the staircase in the dark, called &quot;The Path&quot;. The framing narrative is described in a slightly tongue-in-cheek, doomladen style a la Lemony Snicket, and features young Edgar going to visit his Uncle Montague to hear all these spooky tales and finding Uncle Montague and his home even more spooky than the stories he tells. Great fun, and very nice illustrations too from David Roberts.&nbsp;</p>