Tales of Terror From The Tunnel’s Mouth
- Chris Priestley
Publisher: UK – Bloomsbury
Robert Harper is going back to school, and it is the first railway journey he has ever made alone. And it is not a very usual sort of railway journey. The train stops at the mouth of a tunnel and in order to help while away the time a strange woman dressed in white tells Robert stories. But these are not the kind of stories normally told to a child. soon Robert is both entranced and terrified by the strange woman and the macabre stories.
Once again Chris Priestley has managed to create an enthralling collection of tales that feels both fresh and inherited from the Victorian era. Every story feels like a ghost tale you used to tell at sleepovers to scare your friends with each one attempting to top the last. At the same time each story feels unique and original, painting some truly macabre images in your mind. At least one will have you wondering about some of the everyday elements in your life and giving them a second glance...the crack in my ceiling has suddenly turned menacing rather than another DIY chore...
The thread pulling these stories together this time is a boys train journey and the mysterious woman in white who entertains him while they are held up at the entrance to the tunnel. Once again the teller of tales feels just as intimidating as the tales themselves which I enjoy as it makes me not only anxious to see what the next story is about but wanting to know what the point of the stories is.
There is a strong moral core to these stories with the wicked, impatient or lazy punished – adults and children alike this time. Firmly set in the Victorain era, the morals can still be relevant today – tell the truth, respect the dead, don’t steal, be good to your parents. Having read two other tales of terror I also enjoyed the subtle nod to the other books in the epilogue and suggested that perhaps there is a link between them all.
In all this was a fun read for the dark evenings and cold weather, which make an excellent background to these spooky stories. Extra marks for some beautifully spooky covers in this reprinted selection!
Recommended for fans of Christopher Pike and LJ Smith. 7.5 out of 10