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Nd often archaic environments far removed from the manic pace and pressures of the twenty first century but as exercises in the art of luring the reader into a stat of unease they are as potent as they were when the ink was barely dry on the pa Very good stories but best not taken as a whole Read back to back some consistent elements and traits of the stories become predictable and formulaic Read this book in small bits a story here and a story there and you'll enjoy them Guide de la Zarzuela environments far removed from the manic pace and pressures of the twenty first century but as The Rebellion exercises in the art of luring the reader into a stat of unease they are as potent as they were when the ink was barely dry on the pa Very good stories but best not taken as a whole Read back to back some consistent The Deception of the Emerald Ring (Pink Carnation, elements and traits of the stories become predictable and formulaic Read this book in small bits a story here and a story there and you'll The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Harold Fry, enjoy them

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The Temple of Death and Other Stories

The great oaken gate heaved and splintered and a monstrous beast as huge as a horse appeared at the mouth of the den; his small head was laid back on his hairy shoulders his little eyes gleamed wickedly and his red mouth opened snarling fiercel If you enjoy the stories of EF Benson well you'll probably hate this book as much as I did The three brothers did nominally all write spook stories but only one did it well A certain liveliness of image is almost always ruined here by an overtly Christian moralizing People donate ill gotten buried treasures to build churches that sort of thing A mysterious white figure carries off the now smiling ghost it having faced its misdeeds made on this mortal coil finally from the other side I'm sure this sort of dreck was wildly popular among the better classes up until the mid twentieth century A sort of acceptable spiritualismIt's all lost on us now even making so called contemporary inspirational fiction seem sophisticated by comparison Diary of the Fall eyes gleamed wickedly and his red mouth opened snarling fiercel If you The Brides of Rollrock Island enjoy the stories of EF Benson well you'll probably hate this book as much as I did The three brothers did nominally all write spook stories but only one did it well A certain liveliness of image is almost always ruined here by an overtly Christian moralizing People donate ill gotten buried treasures to build churches that sort of thing A mysterious white figure carries off the now smiling ghost it having faced its misdeeds made on this mortal coil finally from the other side I'm sure this sort of dreck was wildly popular among the better classes up until the mid twentieth century A sort of acceptable spiritualismIt's all lost on us now The Daughter of Time even making so called contemporary inspirational fiction seem sophisticated by comparison

A.C. Benson Ù 2 Review

YUndeservedly the weird and chilling ghost stories of Arthur Christopher Benson and Robert Hugh Benson have been neglected for far too long This volume attempts to rectify that situation This dark banuet of tales takes us to strange unworldly a A C Benson and R H Benson have been overshadowed by their popular novelist brother E F Benson but between the three the produced over 100 volumes of fiction and nonfiction This is a collection of stories written by the two less well remembered Bensons during the early Edwardian eraWhile the collection is referred to as ghost stories and described as chilling they are not ghost stories and rarely chilling They are stories of the supernatural simply told and as mentioned further down mainly stories of Christian virtue versus demonic powersA C Benson's creates an excellent atmosphere giving most stories a creepy feeling of dread His stories focus on Christianity triumphing over a supernatural evil and follow the same formula His writing is good but certainly not greatStories by AC BensonThe Temple of Death 35 starsThe Closed Window 45 starsThe Slype House 45 starsThe Red Camp 45 starsOut of the Sea 45 starsThe Grey Cat 35 starsThe Hill of Trouble 45 starsBasil Netherby 35 starsThe Uttermost Farthing 45 starsR C Benson's stories are mostly straight forward Catholicism overcoming Satanic evil The lack the atmosphere of AC Benson's stories but make up for it with well thought out plots His writing is better than his brother's and the narratives flow wellStories by RH BensonThe Watcher 45 starsThe Blood Eagle 35 starsConsolatrix Afflictorium 55 starsOver the Gateway 45 starsFather Meuron's Tale 45 starsFather Macclesfield's Tale 35 starsThe Traveler 45 stars The World of Rafael Salas early Edwardian Camping Makes Me Happy eraWhile the collection is referred to as ghost stories and described as chilling they are not ghost stories and rarely chilling They are stories of the supernatural simply told and as mentioned further down mainly stories of Christian virtue versus demonic powersA C Benson's creates an Idols for Destruction excellent atmosphere giving most stories a creepy feeling of dread His stories focus on Christianity triumphing over a supernatural The Daughter of Time (Inspector Alan Grant evil and follow the same formula His writing is good but certainly not greatStories by AC BensonThe Temple of Death 35 starsThe Closed Window 45 starsThe Slype House 45 starsThe Red Camp 45 starsOut of the Sea 45 starsThe Grey Cat 35 starsThe Hill of Trouble 45 starsBasil Netherby 35 starsThe Uttermost Farthing 45 starsR C Benson's stories are mostly straight forward Catholicism overcoming Satanic Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum, evil The lack the atmosphere of AC Benson's stories but make up for it with well thought out plots His writing is better than his brother's and the narratives flow wellStories by RH BensonThe Watcher 45 starsThe Blood Eagle 35 starsConsolatrix Afflictorium 55 starsOver the Gateway 45 starsFather Meuron's Tale 45 starsFather Macclesfield's Tale 35 starsThe Traveler 45 stars


10 thoughts on “The Temple of Death and Other Stories

  1. says:

    Perhaps you are familiar with Edward Frederick Benson author of the Mapp and Lucia comic novels and some of the best ghost stories in the English language? This pleasant although not compelling selection of occult tales is by two of his siblings the lesser of the literary Benson brothers Arthur Christopher and Robert Hugh AC Benson was a confirmed bachelor a lecturer in English Literature at Eton for 18 years and later at Cambridge where he became the Master of Magdalene College Most of his stories contained herein were intended as moral lessons for the young men he taught and although they have their moments their style is a little stiff and their conclusions a little too pat The two longer stories here Basil Neatherby and The Uttermost Farthing are a different matter entirely AC apparently wrote them for his own amusement and they are dense and complex reminding one occasionally of Henry James both in their attenuated narratives and in their sublety Read these two stories even if you read none of the restRobert Hugh Benson was an Anglican clergyman who subseuently converted and was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest His was a celebrated and notorious conversion After all he was the son of the Archbishop of Canterbury Today he is probably best known for his novel Come Rack Come Rope a story of the Anglican persecution of recusants during the sixteenth century I find it odd but I liked his stories much better than his brother Arthur's even though I could put my finger on nothing in plot or style that marked then as superior Still they all seems so suffused with love with a reverence for life with a profound sense of the numinousness of all things that their spirit stayed with me long after the effect of AC's had passed away


  2. says:

    If you enjoy the stories of EF Benson well you'll probably hate this book as much as I did The three brothers did nominally all write spook stories but only one did it well A certain liveliness of image is almost always ruined here by an overtly Christian moralizing People donate ill gotten buried treasures to build churches that sort of thing A mysterious white figure carries off the now smiling ghost it having faced its misdeeds made on this mortal coil finally from the other side I'm sure this sort of dreck was wildly popular among the better classes up until the mid twentieth century A sort of acceptable spiritualismIt's all lost on us now even making so called contemporary inspirational fiction seem sophisticated by comparison


  3. says:

    Many people have heard of Edward Frederic EF Benson who wrote a series of humorous novels about Mapp and Lucia I haven't read them but am familiar with the name Unfamiliar to me was the fact that EF had a couple brothers AC and RH These acronyms also wrote stories though as far as I can tell they were less popular than EF and I'm not sure if they wrote anything longer than a short storyThis collection is nice because EF has no part in it I understand he also wrote ghost stories but I haven't experienced them yet I can say that between AC and RH AC I so want to write AC Slater was a much better writer His stories have detail and a bit of edge There are some morals or morals that I've inferred anyway but are mostly well written and interesting stories that have a wide variety of truly creepy shit that occursRH on the other hand was a priest who apparently still wanted to be a part of the writing family His stories are brief and usually involve some sort of epistolary thing going on a diary entry a letter a story relayed to someone else from someone else etc There's not a lot of description there's a whole helluva lot of GOD and all told I didn't care much about any of themFor what it's worth there was also a Benson sister who had the spine to actually go by her first name Margaret I don't think she wrote but apparently she was an amateur Egyptologist But she was a woman so obviously she wasn't that important and she was left to her little hobbies like EgyptologyMoving right alongI reviewed the stories as I read them because of my pathetic excuse of a memory It sort of worked out for me I could have done without the RH stories uite honestly so sorry I think the AC stories are really actually pretty cool and a few of them might actually stick with me People compare these bros with another acronym writer MR James another someone I haven't read It's hard to keep up with all these abbreviationsThe Benson bros without a Margaret in sightGuess which one is the priest RH Yeah exactlyArthur Christopher AC BensonThe Temple of DeathPaullinus is a Christian teacher who travels by foot to visit out of the way hamlets and villages to tell them about the Word The story begins after Paullinus has spent the night in a village with an old man who tells him about a special place he in the wood Paullinus should not visit not in a million years it's full of EEEeeeviiiiillllOf course Paullinus winds up there though not intentionally Will his Christianity save him in THE TEMPLE OF DEATH?Note This is not about an Icelandic metal band though if one hasn't already used the name Temple of Death I'd be terribly surprisedThe Closed WindowSir Mark lives in the Tower of Nort and eventually his cousin and heir Roland comes to live there as well One rainy day Roland is all I'm bored Entertain me and so they wander the tower coming to a room with four windows one facing each direction One window is closed with a creepy Latin warning to leave it closed But phooey to that The window is opened and STUFF HAPPENSMoral of the story Don't mock Latin warningsThe Slype HouseI'll be honest I didn't know what a slype was I thought it might be some Slytherin related thing so I just looked it up and found that a slype is an actual thing It's an architectural turn for often a covered passage between the transept and chapter house in cathedrals Thank you Wikipedia; sorry Freshman year in college for forgetting my architectural terms from the Humanities class I took and thought I loved Of course AC Benson sort of explained that concept to me in the first line or two of the story but in olden terms so I sort of missed thatAnthony Purvis is a curmudgeonly sort lacking in solid friendships or relationships or any sort of warmth At university he's befriended by an occultist and after Anthony's father dies he returns to the Slype house to collect his inheritance Being all out of the way and all he uses the home for his practices many of which are occult y which then makes some scaries happen as they are wont to doMoral Make a friend or two No one is an islandThe Red CampAnother story about a man returning home to collect his inheritance in the form of property On the property is an overgrown mound that is known locally as the Red Camp No one fully knows the story of this spot but when Walter thinks out loud maybe dig up the area he's urged not to as that is a poor idea 'cause y'know the land is probably cursed or something So of course Walter decides to do it anyway SUPER smart Will there be treasure or will there be curses?Moral When it doubt about what you've done build a churchOut of the SeaA beast From the seaThe Grey CatA young man goes for a walk discovers a pool of water is warned to stay away from said pool but like any good 15 year old totally ignores the warnings and drinks from it He then has hallucinations because maybe there was LSD in the pool and a cat befriends himMoral Don't do drugs and befriend animalsThe Hill of TroubleHe was still young and yet he had made himself a name for learning and still for wisdom which is a different thing though the two are often confusedBasil NetherbyWhen Leonard Ward receives a strange message from a former pal from music school he goes to meet with Basil Netherby Conversations about spirits and the unknown ensue and a bad thing happensMoral If you get a bizarre letter from someone from your past just remember curiosity killed the catThe Uttermost FarthingThe title actually comes from the King James Bible Verily I say unto thee Thou shalt by no means come out thence till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing No I didn't just figure that out I looked it up with my eyeballs That's from Matthew 526 which someone with a religious background might actually know what it means Something about having to pay ones dues I supposeThis is the longest story of the bunch wherein the narrator visits Hector Bendyshe one of the coolest names ever They talk a lot about things of supernatural topics And it's just really really longRobert Hugh RH BensonThe WatcherThe narrator shoots a bird realizes he's being watched and has a spiritual crisis BasicallyThe Blood EagleA priest retells a story of an experience he had as a teenager that involved a creepy ass woman in the woods and a pig that had been used in a ritual but apparently should have been a human that was usedThis story sort of just ended? And I'm not sure what the point was Probably GOD'Consolatrix Afflictorum'An old man remembers the time as a child after his mother died how much he wanted to see her again and then she started visiting him at night Except it wasn't really his mother; it was The Mother as in a totally religious sort of figureAnother story about GODOver the GatewayThis was also about GODFather Meuron's TaleAn exorcism And well GODFather Macclesfield's TaleFather Macclesfield tells some tales of spookiness Not so much about GOD this time At least not overtlyThe TravellerAnnnnnd GOD


  4. says:

    The Temple of Death is billed as ghost stories or Tales of Mystery and the Supernatural by A C And R H Benson These are the lesser known for good reason I think brothers of E F Benson of Mapp and Lucia fame The back of the book says that these weird and chilling ghost stories have been undeservedly neglected for too long But I can't say that I think that's necessarily true I probably could have gone on just as well without ever having read these Oh they're decent enough storiesparticularly those by A C Benson But they're not strictly ghost stories religious ghost stories perhaps So I guess tales of the supernatural would describe these best All of the stories have a very religious moral tone In each you have an element of good needing to triumph over evil whether that be the evil of paganism and the Dark Arts or the evil doings of the human heart The stories of R H Benson have far less substance than those of his brother fortunately there are fewer of them A C Benson's tales synopses below have narrative and depth The former's tales range from the killer instinct of a man compelled to shoot a thrush The Watcher to two boys lost on a road who encounter a gypsy Blood Eagle There isn't much haunting to be found and I can't say that R H does much for me in the story telling line Of A C's stories the best by far are Out of the Sea Basil Netherby and The Uttermost Farthing I don't say that you need to run out and find this collection but if you do happen upon it then be sure to read these three if you read no others Three stars JustStories by A C BensonThe Temple of Death Paullinus a Roman follower of the Christian faith gets lost on his travels and finds himself at the pagan Temple of Death Will his faith help him overcome the dreadful beast that is lord of the temple?The Closed Window The evil Sir James de Nort died under mysterious circumstances in the turret room Since that time the window has never been opened What will happen if his grandson and grand nephew decide to do so? What odd vision of the world will be revealed?The Slype House Anthony Purvis owner of the Slype House dabbles in the Dark Artsand winds up in a battle for his very soulThe Red Camp Walter Wyatt inherits the ancestral home On his land there is a dense wooded area known as the Red Camp so called because of the terrible battle that took place there Wyatt must lay to rest the souls killed on this terrible spotOut of the Sea A ghastly beast comes out of the sea to haunt a wealthy fisherman and his son a fate they must endure because of their actions towards a survivor of a shipwreckThe Grey Cat A young boy is in a fight for his very soulwith of all things a harmless seeming grey catThe Hill of Trouble Gilbert is happy in his life as a scholar at Cambridge he's close to finishing the book that has been his life's work But then he goes visiting in the country wanders onto the Hill of Trouble and has his future revealed to him by the spectre of the hill Basil Netherby Basil is a musician of some little talent He takes up residence at a house with evil connections His music changes and so does he Can his friend help rescue him from the evil influence of the house's former owner?The Uttermost Farthing Three men race against the ghosts of two evil men to uncover hidden secrets Are the secrets better revealed or destroyed?First posted on my blog My Reader's Block


  5. says:

    A C Benson and R H Benson have been overshadowed by their popular novelist brother E F Benson but between the three the produced over 100 volumes of fiction and nonfiction This is a collection of stories written by the two less well remembered Bensons during the early Edwardian eraWhile the collection is referred to as ghost stories and described as chilling they are not ghost stories and rarely chilling They are stories of the supernatural simply told and as mentioned further down mainly stories of Christian virtue versus demonic powersA C Benson's creates an excellent atmosphere giving most stories a creepy feeling of dread His stories focus on Christianity triumphing over a supernatural evil and follow the same formula His writing is good but certainly not greatStories by AC BensonThe Temple of Death 35 starsThe Closed Window 45 starsThe Slype House 45 starsThe Red Camp 45 starsOut of the Sea 45 starsThe Grey Cat 35 starsThe Hill of Trouble 45 starsBasil Netherby 35 starsThe Uttermost Farthing 45 starsR C Benson's stories are mostly straight forward Catholicism overcoming Satanic evil The lack the atmosphere of AC Benson's stories but make up for it with well thought out plots His writing is better than his brother's and the narratives flow wellStories by RH BensonThe Watcher 45 starsThe Blood Eagle 35 starsConsolatrix Afflictorium 55 starsOver the Gateway 45 starsFather Meuron's Tale 45 starsFather Macclesfield's Tale 35 starsThe Traveler 45 stars


  6. says:

    I can't believe people didn't really like this book The book is split in two the first stories are written by AC Benson a kind of nobody and the others are written by his brother a Catholic kind of nobody The RH Benson the Catholic were pretty forgettable but thankfully only took up the last 20 percent or so of the book The AC Benson stories were FUCKING BADASS I can't believe these aren't popular totally in the MR James tradition of scary ghost stories that aren't really populated by ghosts but evil monster things The settings are arachaic and mysterious for the most part ancient stuff the atmosphere is thick and dark the writing is well paced etc Except that almost all of them end with Christianity saving the day they're perfect I could have had a few horrible endings but that never happens every story ends neatly and well which became predictable after awhile The only exceptions were the last two stories which were a little different and I think were unpublished in the author's lifetime and they were the best ones I don't know why a lot of people seem to prefer the RH stories they were really boring in comparison I thought The five stars are for AC's stories only The other's I'd give one or two to


  7. says:

    Read the book Liked several of them Found the tone too uiet and contents too inward looking for my taste If you can find a cheap or tattered library edition you may read the book But these themes have been handed in a far better manner by masters in the subseuent years This collection is OK type nothing


  8. says:

    Very good stories but best not taken as a whole Read back to back some consistent elements and traits of the stories become predictable and formulaic Read this book in small bits a story here and a story there and you'll enjoy them


  9. says:

    While I am not a believer myself I would certainly not say that religious beliefs make good art impossible I can count numerous works inspired by religion that are among my favouritesHowever it is fair to say that it is very hard to make decent books about fantastical subjects which are also religious Of course religion itself is pretty fantastical but how do you balance the fantastical elements of one belief system thought to be true against a world that is not believed to be true in any way?Consider the genre of fantasy itself C S Lewis did a decent enough job of making his fantasy world into a metaphor for Christianity but later books in the Narnia series began to be weighted down with his absurdly narrow minded views J R R Tolkien and J K Rowling got round the problem by simply ignoring Christianity sparing themselves the need to ask why people with magic powers would be all that interested in a man who is resurrected on a cross However the incompatibility of fantasy and Christianity was nicely brought out when fundamentalists started protesting against Rowling’s books because the heroes practised witchcraftSci fi is another area that sits uncomfortably with Christianity Do we really believe that people on other planets worship Jesus? How does a dystopian future suare with devout beliefs?Then there is horror There is a natural religious overlap here as horror can be about devils Satanists and exorcisms and the battle between good and evil Nonetheless as even early great writers in the genre such as Edgar Allan Poe and H P Lovecraft realised horror works better when there is an element of nihilism in itThis brings me on to the stories of A C and R H Benson Goodness fantastical writers use a lot of initials Most of the stories here are by A C and they promote a resolutely pro Christian message as one might expect from the sons of the Archbishop of Canterbury Indeed they would be hard pressed to show priests trying and failing to counteract evil and sit this against their devout faith This leads to a certain cosiness in the stories Just how horrific can a situation be if you know that the characters can invoke Christ and escape danger every time?A C’s stories are particularly absurd in this There seems to always be a helpful cleric on hand to save the day The titular story is set in the early days of Christian and ends with the unlikely spectacle of a missionary’s faith somehow managing to change an entire community’s minds after an evil is slain I doubt people’s minds are so easily malleableIf in doubt call in a clergyman They will give you advice and guidance and prayer Even if you are threatened by a mysterious creature from the sea a cleric is of use than the army or any secular authority If you have a chance of receiving tainted gold turn it down Don’t worry God will find another way of rewarding you Not spiritual pleasures and rubbish As soon as you renounce this money he’ll find you some material wealthAnd don’t dabble in the unknown One man does this and has some instruments in his house that are somehow thought to be bad What does he produce with them? Mechanical toys and he has a good knowledge of medicine My God This man is practising scienceThe later stories get longer darker and complex to be fair but the constant intrusion of Christian goodness does get a little wearyingR H has a few stories in here but his life sounds interesting than the stories Despite being the son of the Archbishop he converted to Catholicism and received much hate mail in conseuence Ah Christian charity He also wrote a dystopian novel which naturally is full of religious content It seems that the world will become dominated by an anti Christ if Britain elected a Labour government Those were the good old days when conservative Catholics could write bonkers things like that and be taken seriously in BritainHis stories are briefer and less conclusive and often end with a few boring pieties The longest story involves the ghosts of Thomas a Becket and his murderers Trust a Christian to harp on about martyrdom even if they have to look back seven centuries to find a noble enough exampleThe stories are certainly not terrible and have a few moments to chill the spine If you like classic ghost stories by all means give them a try but don’t expect anything unusually remarkable


  10. says:

    The stories of AC Benson cover about 2 thirds of the book and are far superior to R H Benson Well worth a read