The story tells the tale of an introverted academic who happens upon a strange whistle while exploring a cemetery on the East Anglian coast. When blown, the whistle unleashes a supernatural force that terrorises its discoverer.
M. R. James was a prolific and hugely successful author, now credited with having redefined the ghost story for the 20th century by abandoning many of the formal Gothic clichés of his predecessors and using more realistic contemporary settings. Originally published in 1904, 'Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to you, My Lad' ranks amongst his best and most underrated tales. Many of the earliest ghost stories and tales of hauntings, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.
Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad by M.R. James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a classic Christmas ghost story. I downloaded an audio copy, which had been specially created by Audible and read by David Suchet (actor of Hercule Perot etc.). I loved it!
Professor Parkins is a young man, who goes on a golfing holiday and finds a strange whistle that when blown, unleashes a horrifying event. As this was a short story, I couldn't get a good enough impression of his character. However, I did like him.
This is a short story, but it was well told and the suspense and mystery was chillingly built. Written in the traditional ghost story manner, the story swept me away and kept me entertained for just under an hour. Narrated by David Suchet, the story was given a creepy feel by his interpretation. I loved the way how he gave the different characters their own voice, and how he paced the tale. Neither too fast nor too slow, the story built until the climax at the end of the book. I was a little disappointed by how it ended, but it did make me feel a little scared! The only thing I have a quibble about was the origin of the whistle and why it called the specter.
Nevertheless, the story was extremely entertaining and I would definitely consider reading/listening to more of the works by this author.
M. R. James may have published this is 1904, but the contemporary feel of the story made it feel as if it had been written this year. His attention to detail brought the characters to life and his writing style flowed wonderfully.
There is no violence or horrific gore, so I recommend this book to younger readers who are looking for a small scare, and to adults who love classic ghost or horror stories. - Lynn Worton
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