Thursday, May 22, 2014

Zombies From the Pulps!: The House in the Magnolias - August Derleth and Mark Schorer

"The House in the Magnolias" by August Derleth and Mark Schorer is another tale that first appeared in the pulp STRANGE STORIES, in the July 1932 issue. In this one, the narrator is a landscape painter, John Stuard, who comes across a picturesque old mansion just outside New Orleans surrounded by magnolias. Stuard wants to paint a picture of it, so he asks permission of a woman who lives there, the beautiful and mysterious Rosamunda Marsina, who reluctantly gives him permission to stay there while he's working. Stuard is attracted immediately to Rosamunda, but he's baffled by sinister noises he hears at night, and it won't come as a surprise to know that he decides to investigate and discovers more than he bargained for.

This is another story that seems to have been directly inspired by W.S. Seabrook's THE MAGIC ISLAND. There's even a line of dialogue referring to Haiti with that phrase. It's a good yarn, too, well written and no less compelling because we know where it's going. Derleth is more remembered as the founder of the publisher Arkham House than he is for his writing, but I've read a number of his stories and always enjoyed them. According to Jeffrey Shanks' introduction, Schorer was a long-time friend and occasional collaborator of Derleth's. Together they've written a very entertaining story in "The House in the Magnolias".

ZOMBIES FROM THE PULPS! e-book and trade paperback on Amazon.


Charles Gramlich said...

I definitely think Derleth could write. I've got some really good tales by him

Jerry House said...

I'm a big Derleth fan and have read most of his books. Battered Silicon Dispatch Box issued a massive four-volume retrospective of his weird stories in 2009, well worth getting if you can find copies.