This is the eighth volume of stories by Reggie Oliver to be published by Tartarus Press and marks the fact that they have published over one hundred of his tales. Oliver’s work is notable for its style, wit, humour and depth of characterisation, and also for its profound excursions into the disturbingly bizarre and uncanny. Behind a façade of classical elegance his stories consistently defy convention.
‘The Crumblies’ is a haunted house story, but is the house haunted by the dead, or the living? A retired civil servant is tormented by guilt, but is it guilt about a real, or an imagined event? In the title story, why are the inhabitants of a high-class brothel so terrified by a client who just likes to throw jam tarts at them? In these and other mysteries, we are taken to a farmhouse in the Dordogne, a Suffolk ‘Rehab Clinic’, a private island in the Thames, Victorian St John’s Wood, the Edinburgh Festival in 1979, and many other unusual destinations.