Carnacki: The Edinburgh Townhouse and Other Stories

This is the most recent collection of Carnacki of stories from Meikle, but a new one is scheduled to be released soon.

Review: Carnacki: The Edinburgh Townhouse and Other Stories, William Meikle, 2017.

Cover by Wayne Miller

This is another winning collection of Carnacki stories from Meikle.

Carnacki doesn’t always save those who seek his assistance, and “The Photographer’s Friend” is one such case. The case begins with strange apparitions showing up in the photographer’s pictures.

Fins in the Fog” is another team up between Carnacki and Captain Gault. Carnacki finds the Captain an amiable pirate. This one has Gault showing up at Carnacki’s house with spectral sharks pursuing him.

In “The Cheyne Walk Infestation”, Carnacki doesn’t have to go anywhere to investigate odd happenings. His own apartment is threatened by giant, vicious millipedes. Told via Carnacki’s journal this story is related to the earlier “The Shoreditch Worm”.

Investigating the murder of an old friend, Carnacki meets a Scotland Yard inspector who is resourceful and nonplussed at dealing with the sort of entities Carnacki encounters. It all starts with “An Unexpected Delivery”.

A Sticky Wicket” was one of the most enjoyable stories in the collection. No haunted houses or castles or museums here. It mostly takes place on a cricket field – one that Arkwright, one of the usual auditors of Carnacki’s tales, thinks is haunted.

Not only does “The King’s Treasure” team up Gault and Carnacki again, but we also get mention of a member of the Seton clan who show up now and then in Meikle stories. This was another favorite of mine and centered around a real historical event: the sinking of The Blessing of Burntisland taking King Charles I’s gold and jewels with it. Meikle also works in elements of his Dreaming God mythos too.

Mr. Churchill’s Surprise” is essentially the back story, from Carnacki’s private journal, of how we get a Nazi UFO in Meikle’s Operation Antarctica, one of Meikle’s S Squad series. Yes, the crossovers abound in this collection.

And another crossover, this time with the Meikle Mythos of Sigils and Totems Houses, is “The Edinburgh Townhouse”. Carnacki is summoned to investigate a deserted townhouse in Edinburgh because it has a strange air about it, strange sounds coming out of it, and strange sights on its stairs. We get a double shot of Hodgson when Arkwright says “those bally swine things again, Carnacki”. It was a nice nod to William Hope Hodgson’s swine motif.

Carnacki ends up spending “A Night in the Storeroom” and encounters a Minotaur. The stalwart Scotland Yard Inspector Whittaker from “An Unexpected Delivery” again lends assistance.

Readers of Carnacki stories, both Meikle’s and Hodgson’s, know how they almost always end, but Meikle offers an amusing twist on that at the end of “Into the Light”. Carnacki again gets involved with Winston Churchill which is why this one is told via Carnacki’s private journal and not related to his friends. Why are we not surprised to find Churchill again involved with demons?

There’s no reason, if you’ve enjoy Meikle in general or his Carnacki pastiches in particular, not to pick up this book. And there’s plenty of reasons, if you’re ignorant of either, to get your copy.

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