Ode to an Author: Chris Priestley

Good evening Possums! Mad Martha here, going just a little bit Dame Edna on you all.  Today I am waxing lyrical on one of the favourite authors amongst the denizens of Bruce’s shelf – Chris Priestley, author of Mister Creecher, The Dead of Winter, The Tom Marlowe Mysteries and our resounding favourite, the Tales of Terror Series!  This series features collections of short stories centred around a young protagonist (or two) who, through accident or design, has become the captive audience of some very odd and colourful storytelling. Starting with a delightfully atmospheric and eerie romp around Uncle Montague’s house and surrounds, this series blossomed into a veritable English country garden of creepy weirdness, with the followup titles Tales of Terror from the Black Ship (my personal favourite so far), Tales of Terror from the Tunnel’s Mouth, and the limited release The Teacher’s Tales of Terror!  You may notice the differences in the cover art – the titles are available in both the pen and ink illustration covers and the more photographic style….We on the shelf prefer the pen and ink.

tales of terrorTOT black ship

TOT tunnelTeachers TOT

Priestley has an uncanny knack for creating an ambience that has you looking over your shoulder while reading.  Also, as many of the main characters in the short stories are less than endearing, it can be somewhat unsettling to realise that one may be secretly relishing the various sticky ends to which those characters succumb.

We are always keeping our eyes peeled for new titles in this series as they really are the cream of the crop in spine-tingling stories for people aged about 10 years and over. Our vigilance was rewarded recently when Bruce spotted a seasonal release, only available (annoyingly) as an ebook – Christmas Tales of Terror!

TOT christmas

So it was that Bruce attempted to read his first ever e-book – in fact, he read it aloud in one sitting for the benefit of all the shelf-folk, during a brief period in which the house fleshlings were away from the dwelling, leaving their precious electronified tablet unguarded.  While this is certainly not the best offering in the series in our opinion, (the first story, “The Green Man” being particularly weak), it is certainly another feather in the cap of the good Mr Priestley.  And for his services to the field of terror-inducement in minors and others, I present to him this Ode, in the form of a letter from a reader…..

Dear Mr Priestley,chris-priestley

Your tales are so beastly.

Your plotlines increas’dly mean characters cease-to-be.

Terror unceasingly fills my mind feastingly,

I beg for release from thee!

Yours (most dis-ease-dly),

An Appreciative Reader

I must admit, that one was a challenge.  Not many words rhyme with Priestley.  Further suggestions for rhyming words would be welcome.

But please do yourself a favour and explore the work of Creepy Chris….if you dare! Mwuuuhahahahhaaaaaaaa!

Ahem……Until next time lovelies,

Mad Martha

10 thoughts on “Ode to an Author: Chris Priestley

  1. I’m so happy to learn about the Christmas Tales of Terror! I have a friend who loves to read spooky stories at Christmas time and this will be the perfect gift for next year!


  2. Hmmm wordpress ate my post, grrr,
    Well you had me at the Dame Edna version of mad Martha.
    I have to say I have shied away from these kinds of books for middle grade. I am a bit of a prude I have realised.
    I think you have convinced me to give them a go.
    I think you should send your ode to the author, lol.
    So good night and mwha ha ha, I’ll most likely kill you in the morning, cheers Julie


    • Inconceivable! I did send it to him via FB…and then realised that I’d bagged the first story in the Christmas collection…*blush*…luckily he was gracious. I’d definitely read them yourself before reading them to mini-fleshlings. They are pitched to that market but kiddies (or rather, their parents!) seem to be more sensitive these days. There’s plenty there for adults to appreciate though – particularly Priestley’s ability to craft a suspenseful story 🙂

      But for now, sleep well and dream of large women.


  3. Well, I can’t say I’ve run into these before. My son loves reading ghostly, ghastly, beastly stories – he’s 6. It’s my daughter who’s almost 10 now that is slightly more timid. She has a pretty vivid imagination and easily brings stories to life, if you know what I mean. She’s convinced there is a many centuries old ghost living upstairs in her closet. But then, who doesn’t have one of those!

    Thanks for linking into the Kid Lit Blog Hop once again! 🙂


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