Ash-Tree Press
P.O. Box 1360, Ashcroft, British Columbia, Canada V0K 1A0
Tel: (250) 453-2045; Fax: (250) 453-2075


by H. R. Wakefield
with an Introduction
by Barbara Roden

ISBN: 1-899562-79-6; xxxi + 281pp
Published 23 July 1999 in an edition of 500 copies

In 'Farewell to All Those', the introduction to his 1961 collection Strayers from Sheol, H.R. Wakefield stated 'I've written my last ghost story', continuing with the bleak sentence, 'I believe ghost story writing to be a dying art'. However, he concluded his introduction on a more cheerful note, urging readers not to be too sure that 'none of the old magic endures'; and the fourteen stories collected in the original edition of the book show Wakefield to have been still very much at the top of his form. Indeed, Strayers from Sheol opens with one of the author's finest and most frightening tales, the classic 'The Triumph of Death'.

Following Wakefield's death in 1964, a further four of his stories were published in various Arkham House anthologies edited by August Derleth, who had long been a champion of Wakefield's writing. These stories have been included in the present volume, which also incorporates the more than four dozen changes to the original Strayers from Sheol text that Wakefield noted in the margin of the copy of the book which he presented to his sister Mary.

In her introduction, Barbara Roden looks at the stories in Strayers from Sheol, and concludes her biographical study of the author—the longest and most complete such biography yet written—with an examination of his later years and second marriage; a marriage which the author kept a complete secret from the rest of his family, and which was not revealed until many years after his death.

Contents: Introduction by Barbara Roden; STRAYERS FROM SHEOL: Farewell to All Those!; The Triumph of Death; Ghost Hunt; The Third Shadow; The Gorge of the Churels; Mr Ash's Studio; Woe Water; A Kink in Space-Time; Messrs Turkes and Talbot; 'Immortal Bird'; The Caretaker; 'Four-Eyes'; The Sepulchre of Jasper Sarasen; The Middle Drawer; Monstrous Regiment; UNCOLLECTED STORIES: The Animals in the Case; The Last Meeting of Two Old Friends; Death of a Bumble-Bee; Appointment with Fire.

Jacket art by Paul Lowe.

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Ash-Tree Press 2003