Stories that inspired M.R. James

Twelve tales of terror recommended by the master of the genre!

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Episode 65 – The Story of the Moor Road

May 15, 2018 | Episodes | Comments (2)

Original illustration from The Story of the Moor Road

This episode Mike and Will return to the realms of the ‘psychic detective’ in this tale from mother-son writing team Kate and Hesketh Hesketh-Prichard. Expect terror on the moors with malevolent earth spirits, coughing ghosts, ominous otters and even a bicycle chase scene!

A big thanks to Rob Douglas, who provided the readings for this episode.

Head over to Friends of Count Magnus to find out more about the M.R. James conference that is taking place in York this September!

Story notes



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  1. MarkB says:

    I was going to say that I had never stumbled on this sub-genre (or hybrid genre), but then I remembered the Rivals of Sherlock Holmes television series. Wasn’t there a ghost horse involved? Or a man in a horse costume? Carnaki, perhaps?

    I suspect that the audience for this sort of thing was more interested in atmosphere than plot logic. The interest in spiritualism was certainly real. Given the popularity of mash-ups today, the ghost/detective genre makes more sense.

  2. RogerBW says:

    Speaking as a pipe smoker, seven pipes in an evening would leave me sickened for days, assuming I managed to force myself so far. Of course, some people doubtless smoke more.

    I think the problem of doing the Holmesian reveal here is that, in a Holmes story, the reader knows that there are trains and fallen women and cigars and so on, and roughly how they can behave; but the reader cannot be assumed to know the nature of elemental earth spirits, so the “solution” is no solution. It would be fine if there were a standard taxonomy of such things, but when no two authors use the same one…

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