Ghost Story Review: "The Diary of Mr. Poynter" by M. R. James

@msiduri (5841)
United States
June 16, 2016 8:04am CST
Mr. James Denton, M.A., F.S.A., etc., etc. some time of Trinity Hall related a story of what occurred after he bought a set of diaries kept by late gentleman from his home area of Warwickshire. Being interesting in the history of area, he couldn’t pass the diaries up, even though he was in London on business having to do with furnishing the house he and his maiden aunt share. Because of pressing social engagements and work on the house, Denton is unable to read the diaries for a while. This is probably one of the most unconvincing ghost stories I’ve read in a long time. Aside from one scene where a grown man runs screaming from his bedroom after realizing the thing he was petting wasn’t his spaniel, this was dull. Well, that and an earlier scene where his maiden aunt chews him out for forgetting the errand she sent him on and then for spending too much money on an antique diary. “Oh! are these the things that made you forget my chintzes? I thought so. Disgusting. What did you give for them, I should like to know? Over Ten Pounds? James, it is really sinful. Well, if you have money to throw away on this kind of thing, there can be no reason why you should not subscribe—and subscribe handsomely—to my anti-Vivisection League…” (sic) This story can be found at Project Gutenberg in the Collection A Thin Ghost and Others as well as an audio book from Librivox. _____ Title: “The Diary of Mr. Poynter” Author: M. R. James (Montague Rhodes James) (1862-1936) First published: A Thin Ghost and Others 1919 Source: ISFDB
https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/20387
3 people like this
3 responses
@teamfreak16 (35125)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
16 Jun 16
It was pretty dull. I had to force myself to keep reading a couple times.
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5841)
• United States
16 Jun 16
Yeah, Sad, but true. Did you make it as far as the spaniel that wasn't?
1 person likes this
@teamfreak16 (35125)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
16 Jun 16
@msiduri - Unfortunately not. I gave up about halfway through, unless my mind wandered at that point.
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5841)
• United States
17 Jun 16
@teamfreak16 This was toward the end. No, it was pretty hard to wade through. No need to go back. I think you've probably read most of the best parts, that is, when his aunt nags him. Truth is, James is capable of so much better.
1 person likes this
@puddleglum (1439)
• United States
16 Jun 16
Anti-Vivisection league? That sounds like the best part of the story. I'll probably steer clear of this one. I think I've read some M.R. James before, but not this one.
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5841)
• United States
16 Jun 16
I wish I could say "Oh, give it a try and see what you think," but oh.. it's just goofy. Really. And M. R. James has a lot ghost stories out there. almost all of which are at least more interesting than this one.
1 person likes this
@JohnRoberts (38744)
• Los Angeles, California
16 Jun 16
I gather this story is a loser.
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5841)
• United States
16 Jun 16
I sure thought so. And James is capable of some good ghost stories. While there are a couple of funny things in it, what constitute the haunted object is just.. goofy.