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THE PASSION PLAY and Other Ghost Stories by Antony Oldknow. Ashcroft, BC; Canada; Ash-Tree Press; 2006. 1st edition hardcover.

ISBN: 1-55310-088-3; vi+206pp

Published 28 April 2006 Jacket art by Keith Minnion

'The shouting had stopped. They all stood rigid, their faces up. I could only assume they were sniffing the air. Then suddenly they lunged forward between the trees, at first, luckily for me, hitting them, bringing their spades with them. I began running as fast as I could away from them, but, just as I thought I was out of their reach, I'd get my foot caught in a root, or snagged on a low branch, so I sprawled on the ground. They looked like blind gravediggers; the box in their leader's hand looked like a tiny coffin. They were getting closer. Suddenly one of them was in front of me, lunging with a spade. I screamed . . .'

A Narrator recollects his childhood spent in England's fen country, and what should have been idyllic becomes a waking nightmare; conference-goers notice strange occurrences in the apparently disused factory across the road from their lodgings; an amateur dramatics group gets more than it bargained for when the leading lady comes to town and mysterious deaths occur; a model-railway enthusiast is alarmed when he recognises a strange correlation between events that take place on his layout and events in real life; and a traveller begins to notice something very odd about the man sharing his compartment, and the story he tells.

Welcome to the strange world of Antony Oldknow's The Passion Play and Other Ghost Stories: a sinister world of madness, tragedy, death, and worse, which is separated from our own existence by the thinnest of walls, and often overlaps and envelops it. Sometimes the protagonists survive; but those who do are not always the fortunate ones. . . .

Antony Oldknow will be familiar to readers of All Hallows, Ghosts & Scholars, and Supernatural Tales. A writer, poet, and literary translator, Oldknow was born in Peterborough, England, but now lives in Portales, New Mexico, where he is Professor of English at Eastern New Mexico University. He has been an admirer of the stories of M. R. James since his years at grammar school, where his Latin master read James's ghost stories to the boys as a reward for completing assignments ahead of time. He began writing ghost stories seven years ago, and The Passion Play and Other Ghost Stories is his first collection.

CONTENTS: Preface; The Passion Play; From the North Window; After the Party; The Gollies; The Dambusters' March; Ceremonies; St Sinenomen; Quintinshill; Harrow; The Wanderer.

Fine in fine dj.