The Eve of St Eligius: and other dark stories
The stories in The Eve of St Eligius - 22 of them in 76,000 words - may be described in a shorthand way as `dark' but this belies their variety in terms of darkness, location, time setting, length and other ways. For example, the opener entitled Guardian, a story of an encounter a few months after WWII, could only be described as dark, but Yellow Eyes, the fourth story, although donning the traditional clothing of many stories of the supernatural, wears it in an optimistic (and, I hope, original) way. Some of the other stories do a similar thing. The First and Last Letter, based on actual events in the Smalls Lighthouse off the Pembrokeshire coast at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, is told in just a few pages, though that didn't prevent it from forming the key part of an opera libretto. This opera, For Those in Peril, was produced in Illinois in 2018. In contrast, three of the stories are of novella length. You may think this is appropriate in at least the instance of Contract of One Thousand, where the protagonist has a lifespan of 239 years. There are no Dracula castles here but you will find some unusual centrepieces for the stories: an ashtray in Memento, a modern car in Safety First, a decommissioned GPO telephone box in Waxlow and Lilac, and so on. If you're looking for something different, this is the place to look.