Title: Mr. Splitfoot
Author: Dale Bailey
In: Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Gaslamp, Ghosts, Historical fiction
Dates read: 30th September 2019
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: The spirit hands and the voices and the Summerland itself.
Maggie and Kate Fox have a long history of delving into the spiritual world. But as Maggie faces her final days, she reminsces on their lies and the horrors of Mr. Splitfoot.
I don’t really know anything about the Fox sisters. But this short story really made me want to find out more about them. It would be an amazing story and fascinating tale. Actually, I think that I’ll put their biography on my wishlist…
Bailey manages to write a fascinating historical fiction. Taking Maggie’s last days and building a rich tapestry, he constructs a world that I didn’t quite want to leave. Maggie’s confusion, reminiscing and regret all built a surreal story. One that had a waxing and waning quality… built around an old woman with many regrets and a horrifying spectre lingering over her final moments.
One of the aspects I really enjoyed about this story (other than the actual story), was Bailey’s explanation at the close. He highlights which parts of this tale were real and which ones completely figments of his own imagination. It made everything far more real and intense. Bought it to life in a way I really wasn’t expecting. And had no idea I craved so badly.