“Written in Bond’s inimitable style and riveting to the core, this beautifully illustrated book is a must-have for anyone with a taste for the macabre.”

 

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

Ruskin Bond has always has a taste for the macabre. Perhaps it comes of living in a Himalayan valley with its secluded forest pools, ruined buildings and gigantic trees. These stories are an eclectic mix designed to appeal to both adults and children and what is more curious is that they have varying levels of the fear factor.

Some are light, some aim at making the flesh creep and others are humorous. Add to that the fact that India has its host of ghost folk tales. Bond talks about some of these and then goes onto add stories about them.

We learn that Indian jinns have stretchable arms and love long black hair, sucking out the life from the person whose head it graces while the hair grows in strength and beauty. There are tree haunting ghosts, pisaches or poltergeists and even wereleopards. There are also stories of the old hotels in Dehra which have their own ghost stories and cast of bar regulars.

Readers of Bond will have met some of these stories before – like the faceless schoolboy ghost on the hill or the buffalo demons – but that does not of course detract from the pleasure of these stories. This edition has accompanying graphic illustrations to add to the pleasure. Whispers in the Dark is perfect for reading with a cup of hot coffee preferably on a cold gloomy afternoon with a blanket for company. Gentle, undemanding and with the right frisson of fear.

 

Reviewed by:

Anjana Basu

Added 5th November 2016

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