Black Harvest


The Black Reaper - Bernard Capes, Hugh Lamb

Surprisingly good stories by the virtually unknown Capes. I assumed these would tend towards M.R. James but these actually reminded me more of L.P. Hartley. Capes doesn’t use the same formula twice so the stories throughout the book remain fresh to the reader. There are a few of the usual haunts but there are a lot of clever variations and even some truly original seeming tales. Capes also isn’t afraid to even lead his good characters to a bad ending usually with a bit of irony thrown in.


Hugh Lamb, the editor, says the reason there really are a lot of gems out there by the likes of the virtually unknown is that anthologists are just lazy. He had to comb through lots of original sources and rare books by Capes to get the cream that is here (added to the original 1989 collection), but he says it is no excuse as plenty of other obscure writers have lots of first rate forgotten stories. Lamb virtually made a career out of composing this type of “lost” collection or anthology.

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