Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Clandon Crystal

Fiction ~ short story
Published in The Onlooker, 23rd November 1901
(First read 31/12/2014)

Of all the short stories that might be lumped together in the category 'E. F. Benson at far from his best', in The Clandon Crystal he perhaps came closest to the neighbouring category of 'fu_king atrocious'.  Here's the plot in a rotten nutshell: A gent, wishing to be cured of alcoholism, places himself in the hands of a Harley Street 'doctor' renowned for curing folk by 'suggestion' alone; said quack 'takes over' the mind of our alcky pal, weans him off the sauce but at the same time, by making the cure dependent on his say-so, forces him into becoming engaged to his daughter (whose mind he also controls) in order to secure a juicy marriage settlement for her; once the pair are hitched the quack plans to turn the tap back on on our gent, and so kill him; gent's pal gets wind of this dastardly plot and, aided by his trusty butler, basically holds a gun at the quack's head, while keeping him prisoner, until he's reversed all his evil works.
If it sounds daft that's because it is daft.  Exceedingly daft.  Idiotic, in fact.
It was collected in Some Social Criminals (The E F Benson Society, 1995) and in Sea Mist (2005).

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