Antique Dust: Ghost Stories

Antique Dust: Ghost Stories

by Robert Westall


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'Creepy . . . develops a sense of palpable evil . . . well worth the time of readers who prefer slyly civilized British ghost stories' - Kirkus Reviews

'Fiendishly clever, spine-tingling short fiction' - Publishers Weekly

'Marvelous M. R. Jamesian-style ghost stories' - Michael Dirda, Washington Post

'Dealers are undertakers of a sort. When a man dies, the undertaker comes for the body, and the dealer comes for the rest. I deal in dead men's clocks, pipes and swords. Passing through my hands, they give off joy, loneliness, fear . . . I have known more evil in a set of false teeth than in any so-called haunted house in England.'

So speaks Geoff Ashden, a regular guy trying to make an honest living as an antique dealer, but who has an uncanny knack for finding cursed objects and haunted places: a sinister Georgian clock carved with obscene and Satanic designs, a hideous doll with deadly powers, a pair of old spectacles that let their wearer see a little too clearly, an ugly house with a terrifying secret, a church full of graffiti scrawled in decomposing human flesh. In this collection, award-winning children's author Robert Westall delivers a set of chilling tales for adults and proves himself, as Orrin Grey writes in the new introduction to this edition, 'an obvious successor to that godfather of the English ghost story, M.R. James.'

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780670812011
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date: 09/28/1989
Product dimensions: 1.00(w) x 1.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Robert Westall was born in North Shields, Northumberland in 1929. After taking degrees in fine art from Durham University and London’s Slade School, Westall worked as an art teacher and was also a freelance journalist and art critic for The Guardian.
It was not till later in life that Westall turned to fiction, having been inspired to become a writer after telling his son Christopher stories about his childhood during World War II. His first book, The Machine Gunners, was published in 1975 when he was 45; it was a major success, winning the Carnegie Medal, and has been recognized by critics as a lasting classic of children’s literature. He would go on to publish over 40 books for young readers, including works that drew on his boyhood during the war, stories involving cats, and tales of the ghostly and supernatural. Besides The Machine Gunners, Westall is perhaps best known for The Scarecrows (1981), which won him a second Carnegie Medal and which his obituary in the Independent called ‘one of the most searing and haunting child-eyed views of divorce yet to have been written’, and Blitzcat (1989), which won the Smarties Prize. The Watch House (1977) and The Machine Gunners were also adapted for television serials.
After retiring from teaching in 1985, Westall worked briefly as an antique dealer, an experience that partly inspired his sole work of fiction for adults, the ghost story collection Antique Dust (1989). The first edition’s jacket lists his hobbies as ‘nosing round old buildings, studying cats and looking for the unknown’ and notes that ‘he has never seen a ghost but has not yet given up hope’.
Robert Westall died in 1993 at age 63.

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