This is part of Quinn’s long running series centering on Jules de Grandin, an occult detective.
There’s nothing really unexpected in the story or truly weird, but it’s pleasant enough. The most interesting moment is the scene of erotic horror featured on the cover of the Weird Tales it first appeaed in.
The narrator, Dr. Trowbridge, happens to run into his friend de Grandin when he’s vacationing in France. De Grandin invites Trowbridge along to investigate the dreadful circumstances surrounding the chateau de Broussac. Maimed bodies of two of its recent tenants have been found, and one woman was found mad in the estate’s chapels.
The most recent renter is Mr. Bixby, an Oklahoman who became rich after oil was found on his land, his rather noveau riche and annoying wife, and Adrienne their daughter. The place is rented for a year – partly to keep Adrienne away from a local Oklahoma man whom she was engaged to marry but now deemed unworthy by Mrs. Bixby.
This week’s subject of discussion by the Deep Ones group over at LibraryThing.
Review: “The Phantom Farmhouse”, Seabury Quinn, 1923.
This 1923 story is odd in its combination of supernatural elements.
Our narrator is Weatherby, a clergyman staying at the New Briarcliff Sanitarium in Maine. What he’s recovering from is not clear. He certainly seems well enough, by story’s end, to be running through the countryside.
The hero is at the sanitarium for three weeks before he imagines a farmhouse on the other side of the trees around the sanitarium. He also imagines its inhabitants: a man, a woman and a beautiful girl.
One September night, he walks down the road and past the trees and sees a house very much like he imagined. He asks one of the locals who lives there. The man regards it as a crazy question. Not only does no one live there, there isn’t even a house there. When the narrator says he saw one, the local becomes frightened and leaves immediately.
Later that night at the sanitarium, another person asks him about the house and for Weatherby to describe it. After Weatherby does, this man is frightened too and tells Weatherby to stay inside at night and stay away from the trees where Weatherby saw the house. Continue reading →
“Foreword: About Dick Lupoff“, Robert Silverberg — Silverberg talks about how singularly unlucky his friend Lupoff is in his relationships with publishers; several of them collapsed right after or right before publishing work they bought from Lupoff. Silverberg also disputes the notion that Lupoff, known for his many pastiches, is a “hitchhiker on the creativity of other and greater artists”. His pastiches are, he says, complex experiments and his non-pastiche is greatly varied in style and theme.
“Introduction: How I Learned to Read” — Lupoff provides an autobiographical account of his life with accounts of his days writing for radio, in the US Army, working as a technical writer in the computer industry, a fan magazine writer and publisher (with his wife), and an account of his fiction career.
“Mr. Greene and the Monster” — Lupoff’s earliest story that he has record of. It’s a slight tale of a part-time sf writer being transported back into a simpler, pulpier time more in keeping with his style. He sells a story to one “Hugo Burnsback”. The story ends with the story disappearing from the magazine it is to be in. Probably more of an ironic joke than a rumination on temporal censorship. Continue reading →