REVIEW: “Mysterium Tremendum” by Molly Tanzer

Review of Molly Tanzer, “Mysterium Tremendum”, Nightmare Magazine 62: Read Online. Reviewed by Winnie Ramler.

I really enjoyed this story. It was interesting, unique, and kept me guessing. Horror is a very varied genre because its definition can change depending on whose opinion you are getting. This horror was more unsettling and mysterious rather than out right scary, but the uncertainty made me eager to continue reading. I wanted to know what was going on. The setting combined with Marjorie Olenthistle’s lack of plot knowledge both lent themselves well to suspense.

Marjorie’s goal as a character is simple. She wants to retrieve expensive and rare mummified remains for her job at the library. However, it is the challenge of navigating the desires and hidden motives of the other characters which drives her along. Combine that with some potentially “not of this world” magic tricks, and you’ve got yourself quite the monumental task.

I loved the combination of Egyptian lore with the mystique of the stage magician whose acts confound and astound. Is it real? Or is it some elaborate scam to fool the unintelligent masses? Marjorie gets the chance to find out.

There was humor here. There was mystery. It reminds us to question what we believe to be real and what we believe to be a trick. Sometimes they are separate. Sometimes they are the same thing.

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