FROM ANOTHER WORLD
& Other Ghost Stories
by ROSEMARY TIMPERLEY
With a Foreword by Richard
& an Introduction by Rosemary Timperley
Dahl was asked to select a group of the best literary ghost stories for
television adaptation in 1958, and later for his only anthology in 1983, he
found the job unusually difficult:
batch of fifty or so stories I read were so bad it was difficult to finish
them. They were trivial, poorly written and not in the least spooky. Spookiness
is, after all, the real purpose of the ghost story. It should give you the
creeps and disturb your thoughts. The stories I was reading did none of this.
Some of the worst ones were written by the most famous writers... Then suddenly
a bright star flashed across the murky sky. I had found a good one. The end of
it gave me the shivers. It was called 'Harry' by Rosemary Timperley. That bucked
me up and I went on with my labours... After I had read altogether some three
hundred published stories, I had succeeded in discovering seven good ones.'
by Amelia B. Edwards, Mrs (Margaret) Oliphant, Edith Wharton, Clemence Dane,
Mary Treadgold, and two by Rosemary Timperley: 'Harry', and. 'Christmas Meeting'.
With both these tales, she was the only writer to appear twice in Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories (1983).
Rosemary Kenyon Timperley was born in
Crouch End (North London) on 20 March 1920, daughter of teacher Emily Mary
(Lethen) and architect George Kenyon Timperley. She was educated at Hornsea
High School and Kings College (London) where she qualified for a History
Honours B.A. degree in 1941.
During the war and up to
1949, she taught English and history at a school in Essex, and also found time
to work as a hospital nurse, police canteen assistant, waitress and artist's
model, which all supplied rich background material for her later stories. While entertaining her pupils
with her natural gifts of imaginative story-telling, she began contributing
short fiction pieces to several magazines and newspapers.
During the 1950s
Rosemary Timperley worked full-time with the editorial staff of the popular
magazine Reveille, writing historical
and other features, editing readers' letters and running a personal advice
Several of her earliest
supernatural tales appeared in both Reveille
and the weekly Truth magazine in the
long-running 'Queer Story' series. Three of these, all from 1952 numbers of Truth (kindly supplied by Richard Simms,
who has researched and located many dozens of long-forgotten Timperley tales in
Truth, Reveille, and the London Evening News) appear in the present
Timperley finally achieved
her first hardback publication with 'Christmas Meeting’ and ‘Harry’ in
Cynthia Asquith's bestselling anthologies The
Second Ghost Book (1952) and The
Third Ghost Book (1955) respectively, in the distinguished company of L.P. Hartley,
Elizabeth Bowen, Lord Dunsany, Robert Aickman, and many other great genre
The excellent response to these
two fine tales encouraged the publisher James Barrie to request Rosemary
Timperley to write three longer supernatural stories which then appeared
together in her first book, The Listening
Child (1956), dedicated to 'James Barrie, whose kindness and encouragement
caused this book to be written’. The memorable title-story is now reprinted
here for the first time.
* * * * *Although
Rosemary Timperley was an enormously prolific novelist and short story writer,
she always combined quantity with undeniable quality, much
appreciated by countless readers and admirers of her work. Her work is certainly
overdue for rediscovery today.
This new selection contains twenty-two of Timperley's best stories:
HARRY, FROM ANOTHER WORLD, THE NOBODIES,
THE LISTENING CHILD, THE EVER-BURIED, LOST PATHWAYS, THE ARTIST'S MODEL, THE
MISTRESS IN BLACK, DREAMS ARE MORE THAN SHADOWS, VOICES IN THE NIGHT, WHAT
HAPPENED TO SALLY?, THE TALL WOMAN, TO KEEP HIM COMPANY, WALK ON THE WATER,
LITTLE GIRL LOST, THE SOUND OF THE SAW, THE WRONG GHOST, PROOF POSITIVE,
MANDRAGORA, LITTLE BOY HAUNTED, STELLA, CHRISTMAS MEETING.
Price: £17.50 Limited edition Hardback
Dimensions: 210 × 148 mm
Publication Date: October 2014
details to follow.
As a little
child I was first consciously introduced to ghosts when my aunt read aloud to
me Dickens' A Christmas Carol.
Marley's ghost interested me, but I was
unalarmed as I didn't believe in him. I thought privately that I could invent
that sort of thing myself if I had a mind to.
For years I
regarded ghost stories as fascinating but no more credible than, say, Cinderella
or The Little Mermaid
—beloved favourites, but
one did suspend belief.
Even when I
found Walter de la Mare's The Listeners, fell in love with it, recited
it in the bath or to long-suffering human listeners, I still didn't really
believe a word of it.
always stayed interested in ghosts and, in spite of my scepticism, enjoyed
writing ghost stories, pleasantly giving myself the willies and earning some
unghostly money at the same time.
teacher, I found that the children loved having ghost stories read to them, and
their cries, gasps, shivers and "Cor, Miss ! Smashing ! Read us
another!" was fun for everyone.
sceptic's paradise of mine continued until I was over forty, and then something
happened. I had a long illness, involving months in hospital. The drugs I had
to take and the claustrophobic, almost witchlike atmosphere of an all-female
ward, had an effect on my mind—and I heard Voices.
No need for
details. Teresa of Avila, Joan of Arc, Emily Bronte, Evelyn Waugh and others
have already described this experience to perfection. Indeed, schizophrenia is
not such a rare condition. Many people go through it at some time or other when
they have been under stress and "escape" from so-called normality.
But the point is that, whatever the medical explanation, I really did hear those
Voices, which doctors call "auditory hallucinations". I realised with
shock and terror that there were such things as spirits in the air about us,
and that I'd been playing ignorantly with ghost-fire for all of my previous
From Rosemary Timperley's INTRODUCTION
Read MANDRAGORA a story
from the new collection
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