THE WATCHER BY THE THRESHOLD by JOHN BUCHAN, General Editors: Barbara Roden & Christopher Roden Introduction by Kenneth Hillier secretary, The John Buchan Society. Ashcroft, BC, Canada; Ash-Tree Press; 2005. 1st edition hardcover.
Published August 2005; Limited to 500 copies. Jacket art by Keith Minnion.
Although most famous today for his spy novel The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan (1875–1940) was esteemed in his day as 'probably the most modern exponent of the short story, which he has developed and brought to artistic perfection'. His stories were set in and around the places he knew and loved, most famously the Scotland of his childhood, and from his earliest days he showed a fascination with the supernatural, most particularly the idea of temenos, or sacred places; although these places could be sacred to malign forces as easily as they could to more pleasant ones.
The Watcher by the Threshold collects together all of John Buchan's weird and supernatural tales into one volume for the first time, arranging them chronologically, from the early tales of Scottish superstitions and legends to the more mature and polished works set in landscapes as far flung as South Africa, Greece, and the Europe of World War I. We meet again some of Buchan's recurring characters, including Richard Hannay of Thirty-Nine Steps fame and the thoughtful Edward Leithen, and are introduced to the Runagates Club, where strange tales are recounted amid the brandy and cigars. Among the tales are such classics as 'Tendebant Manus', 'The Grove of Ashtaroth', 'The Green Wildebeest', 'The Wind in the Portico', and the chilling title story; tales in which unspeakable evil lies in wait for the unwary, brought to elegant life by the writer who, in the words of David Daniell, was 'a Christian who had glimpsed the Devil'.
CONTENTS: Introduction by Kenneth Hillier; Glossary; A Journey of Little Profit; The Herd of Standlan; Streams of Water in the South; At the Article of Death; The Moor-Song; Comedy in the Full Moon; The Oasis in the Snow; No-Man's Land; The Far Islands; The Watcher by the Threshold; Fountainblue; The Outgoing of the Tide; The Knees of the Gods; The Grove of Ashtaroth; Space; The Green Glen; The Green Wildebeest; Basilissa; Fullcircle; Watches of the Night; The Shut Door; Tendebant Manus; The Wind in the Portico; Skule Skerry; Dr Lartius; The Magic Walking Stick; The Strange Adventures of Mr Andrew Hawthorn; Ho! The Merry Masons; Sources.
Fine in fine dj.