The Female of the Species and Other Tales of Terror by Richard Davis
Reviewed by Mario Guslandi
The eleven stories featured in the present book portray a writer well trained in the genre’s canons and literary tricks, providing many entertaining and pleasantly disquieting, shivering moments to the reader.
The title story, rather predictable but very enjoyable, tells how a man, after his wife’s death, discovers unpleasant secrets about her and about the she-cat he has recently accommodated in the house.
Elsie and Agnes is a delightful tale about sisterly hate, with a nice twist in the tail, whereas Day Out is an excellent, tongue-in-cheek ghost story.
In The Clump Caribbean horrors take hold of two American tourist, saving, at the same time, the life of their wife and mother, while in Nondescript we make the acquaintance of an evil and powerful creature in the shape of a repulsive, bizarre artifact.
The splendid The Lady by the Stream portrays a lonely spinster and her odd affection for a young boy, while the strong, compelling The Inmate features a woman obsessed with a gorilla belonging to his wealthy husband’s personal menagerie. In both cases the women’s passions will lead to tragic consequences.
The Sick Room, a quite horrific story, told in a restrained narrative style, revolves around a peculiarly haunted room while the long, well crafted Guy Fawkes Night puts together the pieces of a past, unsolved puzzle, the explanation of which was lost in a bonfire.
Davis’ stories are well worth reading and it was high time to pay homage to an unprolific writer whose talent was unjustly put in the shade by his editorial activities.
Published by Shadow Publishing, 2012 at £ 7.99