Friday, 24 December 2010

Mysteries from the age of classic horror

I’m delighted to be able to say that Christmas Day will see the return of one of my favourite heroes, Jim Craddock – in a four-story collection, ebook form, courtesy of Ghostwriter Press. Check out this rather sexy advert, put together with some aplomb by Neil Jackson.

Paul Finch - Craddock eBook Commercial.wmv

Some of you may have met Craddock before. He’s a police detective in Victorian England, who, thanks to his military service in India, now specialises in weird, bizarre and occult-related cases. I first started writing his adventures back in the 1990s. His debut story was THE MAGIC LANTERN SHOW, which puts him on the trail of a serial strangler with supernatural powers. That tale made its first appearance in a chapbook of mine, THE DARK SATANIC (Enigmatic Novellas) in 1999, and was the obvious one with which to kick off this collection.

Craddock’s follow-up tale to this was SHADOWS IN THE RAFTERS, in which the abductions of several street-children leads him to something more loathsome than even he could ever have imagined. This story was first published in BY THE GAS FLAME FLICKERING (BJM Press) in 2000, and is also reprinted here.

His third outing was THE WEEPING IN THE WITCH HOURS, in which Craddock is taken out of his familiar coal-blackened Lancashire, and plunged into the remoteness of the fen country, where the deaths of two clergymen are linked to a spectre from the distant past. Those who enjoy their terror tales with a Jamesian flavour should enjoy this one. It first appeared in DARKNESS RISING (Prime Books) in 2003, and is here reprinted for the first time.

Last but not least is an all-new Craddock adventure, never published until now. THE COILS UNSEEN sends our laconic hero after a dangerous fugitive, who hides out in the beached wreck of a haunted prison ship, where he assumes that no-one will have the guts to look for him. What a mistake that turns out to be.

These are Victorian police mysteries, but they are horror stories as well, filled with demons, ghosts and the dementedly murderous. I massively enjoyed writing them – Gothic nineteenth century literature still underpins this genre to which we’re all addicted, and I had no difficulty at all making a mental leap back into that era of top-hats, Hansom cabs and gas-lit backstreets. But at the time there was a limit to how many of these I could write. The fact that nearly all Craddock’s adventures are novellas rather than short stories, not to mention their period setting, had an effect on their marketability which it wasn’t sensible for me to ignore. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t got at least half a dozen more Craddock ideas sketched out, which I’d love to write. I guess the response to this new collection, available from Christmas Day via links which I’ll post ASAP, will tell me whether or not it’s worth putting my pen to that age-yellowed paper again.


  1. Terrific news, but is it available only in e-format? I would love to buy the book in Hardcover/Softcover format, if a link is available for its purchase.

  2. My understanding, Riju, is that a printed version will be available in due course. Not quite sure when, but it won't be too far in the future.