‘The Lamp’ by Agatha Christie

The Lamp by Agatha Christie, 1933

The magic trick:

Classic scary story intro

A great, quick, little ghost story today from Agatha Christie. She takes a page from… well, it’s from hundreds of books. The intro here won’t strike you as original. “There once was a haunted, old house…” But you know what? It never fails. That’s a heck of a way to start a story.

And that’s quite a trick on Christie’s part.

The selection:

It was undoubtedly an old house. The whole square was old, with that disapproving, dignified old age often met with in a cathedral town.

But number nineteen gave the impression of an elder among elders. It had a veritable patriarchal solemnity. It towered, greyest of the grey, haughtiest of the haughty, chillest of the chill.

Austere, forbidding and stamped with that particular desolation attaching to all houses that have been long untenanted, it reigned above the other dwellings. In any other town, it would have been freely labeled: “haunted”.

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