Muckross Abbey and Other Stories

Highbridge Audio. Mar. 2023. 5:24 hrs. ISBN 9781696610780. $15.99. F
Murray follows up her novel The Human Zoo with a collection of atmospheric literary ghost stories featuring contemporary twists on past gothic tropes. Listeners familiar with gothic literature will recognize classic gothic elements sprinkled throughout, drawing similarities to Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, and the works of M.R. James, Mary Shelley, and Edith Wharton. Although the stories are set in the current day, they still manage to feel out of time owing to Murray’s mastery of the gothic ambiance. References to modern technology, such as telephones and televisions, reel listeners back to the contemporary settings, reminding listeners that ghosts are not all in the past. Kitty Kelly narrates using multiple accents, including English, Australian, and Irish, adding to the kaleidoscopic range of voices throughout the collection. Kelly’s cadence fits wonderfully with the atmosphere of moodiness and gloom, evoking a sense of unease and dread.
VERDICT This collection of stories is eerie enough to seep into one’s bones, but listeners looking for truly horrific ghost stories might want to seek out scarier fare. Recommended for those who enjoy gothic literature and detailed settings and are open to ambiguous endings.
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