Author: Charles Dickens
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
“The Signal-Man” is a horror story by Charles Dickens, first published as part of the Mugby Junction collection in the 1866 Christmas edition of All the Year Round. The railway signal-man of the title tells the narrator of an apparition that has been haunting him. Each spectral appearance precedes a tragic event on the railway on which the signalman works. The signalman’s work is at a signal-box in a deep cutting near a tunnel entrance on a lonely stretch of the railway line, and he controls the movements of passing trains. When there is danger, his fellow signalmen alert him by telegraph and alarms. Three times, he receives phantom warnings of danger when his bell rings in a fashion that only he can hear. Each warning is followed by the appearance of the spectre, and then by a terrible accident.
Ivan took me to London and of course I had to visit several bookstores while there. We went to Hatchards, the oldest bookstore in London. Founded in 1797, and with several floors filled with books, I geeked out. It was pretty funny to watch Ivan, he might have geeked out a little more than I did. I’m used to bookstores so my passion is little more subtle but he was gaping with his mouth hanging open! He could not get over the multiple floors and he just stared up the spiral staircase with eyes filled with wonder!
All that said, I bought a cute little booklet edition of The Signalman by Charles Dickens. I had already seen his burial place in Westminster, so it just felt right! The Signalman is a simple, straightforward read. It’s creepy without being scary. In the same style as A Christmas Carol, Dickens conjured up a spectre that chills the reader and imagined railway accidents that convey true tragedy (my gosh, who the heck is writing this review???? lol). I really liked it! The story was spooky and the characters engaging. It took me all of half an hour to read it so pretty much anyone can read it. I actually think this is a good classic to give to younger readers. It won’t overload their brains and they’ll find a ghost story appealing. An excellent little story!!