Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Horror on the Links: The Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin, Volume One by Seabury Quinn (ed.) George A Vanderburgh

Night Shade Books, 2017
494 pp


I find myself in complete agreement with George A. Vanderburgh and Robert Weinberg who say that the tales in this book "might not be great literature, but they don't pretend to be." They also remark that the stories found here are "good fun" which is absolutely the case.   The Horror on the Links is the first book in a proposed five-volume set, and if the remaining four installments are even half as much fun as this one, then I'm in for a seriously good time.  Let's just say that I enjoyed this series opener so much that I already have volume two, and I've pre-ordered volume three which is supposed to be out in March.  I love good old pulp fiction, I love occult-detective stories, and I love weird tales, so I'm absolutely in my element here.  Ahhhhhhh.

Vanderburg and Weinberg refer to Jules de Grandin as "the occult Hercule Poirot," and it's really difficult not to make the comparison while reading. They also say that he shares "more than a passing resemblance" to Sherlock Holmes, with a "Dr. Watson-like sidekick, Dr. Trowbridge.  As a detective who sees himself as "a scientist; no more", Grandin is not at all quick to dismiss the possibility that there may be more going on than science can explain.  As he notes in "The Poltergeist,"
"There is nothing in the world, or out of it, which is supernatural, my friend; the wisest man today can not say where the powers and possibilities of nature begin or end. We say 'Thus and so is beyond the bounds of our experience' but does that therefore but it beyond the bounds of nature? I think not. Myself, I have seen such things as no man can hear me relate without calling me a liar..."
And indeed, in the scope of the twenty-three stories included here ranging (in order of publication in Weird Tales) from 1925 to 1928, some of the answers to these puzzling tales are definitely of this world while some are to be found in the darker realm of the occult.  The real-world solutions are actually far more frightening than the supernatural ones, for example, after "The White Lady of the Orphanage" (September 1927), I had to put the book down for a while, and I posted somewhere that this was one of the most gruesome stories I'd ever encountered.  Eek and Ick.

My personal favorite is "The Isle of Missing Ships," which is a straight-up pulp fiction story with no foot in the occult world; it is also the only one that does not follow the formula/pattern by which a solution is discovered which is found in all of the other entries in this volume; and then there's "The Chapel of Mystic Horror," because who in their right mind can pass up a story about an old abbey transported from Europe to America, former home of the Knights Templar?  

"The Tenants of Broussac" as cover art, Weird Tales December 1925. From Tellers of Weird Tales
I'll reveal the table of contents below, without annotation -- to tell is to spoil and I don't want to do that. My advice: sit back, relax, and enjoy these wonderful weird tales of yesteryear  and appreciate them for what they are -- delicious pulpy goodness.  My hat is off to the team of Vanderburgh and Weinberg for making these old stories available once again -- I had the time of my life reading this book, and I can't wait to get to Volume two!

Table of Contents

"The Horror on the Links"
"The Tenants of Broussac"
"The Isle of Missing Ships"
"The Vengeance of India"
"The Dead Hand"
"The House of Horror"
"Ancient Fires"
"The Great God Pan"
"The Grinning Mummy"
"The Man Who Cast No Shadow"
"The Blood-Flower"
"The Veiled Prophetess"
"The Curse of Everard Maundy"
"Creeping Shadows"
"The White Lady of the Orphanage"
"The Poltergeist"
"The Gods of East and West"
"Mephistopheles and Company, Ltd."
"The Jewel of Seven Stones"
"The Serpent Woman"
"Body and Soul"
"The Chapel of Mystic Horror"


  1. The second volume of Jules de Gardin stories is being published by Night Shade Books this week. My review will up up on my blog at http:\\ Friday, September 8.

    1. I pre-ordered it and it has already arrived! It may be just the thing to read if the hurricane hits. Thanks for the link to your blog!!


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