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The Clock Strikes Twelve –

The Clock Strikes Twelve

Sunday , 25, February 2024 Leave a comment

H. Russell Wakefield (1888-1964) is considered one of the top tier of English ghost story writers. The Clock Strikes Twelve was his sixth story collection. The Arkham House edition from 1946 is an expanded edition of the 1940 U.K. version.


Why I Write Ghost Stories

Into Outer Darkness

The Alley

Jay Walkers

Ingredient X

“I Recognized the Voice”

Farewell Performance

Not Quite Cricket

In Collaboration

A Stitch in Time

Lucky’s Grove

Red Feathers

Happy Ending?

The First Sheaf


A Fishing Story

Used Car

Death of a Poacher

Knock! Knock! Who’s There?

The last four stories are in the Arkham House edition only. I have read a few Wakefield stories from late 1940s issues of Weird Tales. Nothing that I really took notice of. The supernatural element is on the slighter side much of the time. “Farewell Performance” I think has been adapted for T.V. or the idea of the story anyway.

Wakefield gets in some digs on aspect of English society. “Red Feathers” is scathing in portrayal of vacuous females of well off families. My two favorite stories were “Lucky’s Grove” and “The First Sheaf.” “Lucky’s Grove” is a Christmas Ghost story about a Christmas tree taken from a grove shunned by the locals with pagan roots. “The First Sheaf” is a tale of pagan survival in Essex of all places. I am always up for pagan survival stories set in Britain. Not quite as atmospheric as Arthur Machen would have made it.

I have to say I prefer reading E. F. Benson who is more direct in the supernatural element. Wakefield is very hit and miss for me.

The Clock Strikes Twelve is a typical well made Arkham House book with excellent layout, font, margins etc that always makes for pleasurable reading. Derleth and Wandrei knew what they were doing when producing books.

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