REVIEW: “The Doll’s Ghost” by F. Marion Crawford

Review of F. Marion Crawford, “The Doll’s Ghost,” in Minor Hauntings: Chilling Tales of Spectral Youth, edited by Jen Baker (British Library, 2021): 183-199 — Order here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology).

This was a mesmeric story — it drew me in and gripped me with the gentleness and the strength of its emotions and the realness of its characters. Lady Gwendolen Lancaster-Douglas-Scroop is utterly unconcerned when she falls down the stairs and breaks her doll Nina, as only an imperious six year old can be. Mr. Puckler the doll repairer is kind and caring, and the love he has for his 12-year-old daughter Else shines through — as does his fear when Else goes out to deliver the doll to Lady Gwendolen and does not return. Sitting with Mr. Puckler all night as he waits for her to come back, we feel his pain and anxiety as he does, and when the ghost appears, it is just as unsettling for the reader as it is for him. Despite the seemingly happy ending of this story, this is, in my opinion, one of the more chilling in this book.

(First published in Illustrated London News, 1896.)