The second story in ZOMBIES FROM THE PULPS!, the fine new anthology edited by Jeffrey Shanks, is Henry S. Whitehead's "Jumbee", which originally appeared in the September 1926 issue of WEIRD TALES. As Shanks points out in his introduction, it's one of the earliest zombie yarns. Following the lurid "Herbert West: Reanimator" by H.P. Lovecraft, it comes off as a little on the mild side, as the entire story consists of a conversation between an American visitor to the West Indies and a gentleman who lives there, with the host telling his guest about his encounter with an old friend who comes to see him after dying, as well as a brush with a shape-shifter.
"Jumbee" has a couple of things to recommend it, though. Whitehead's prose is very smooth and effective in creating a creepy mood, and the story does a good job of highlighting some differences in racial attitudes between the United States and the West Indies. It's a tale that lingers in the memory, and as far as I can recall, the only story by Henry S. Whitehead that I've ever read.
Year in Review
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