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Carnacki, Supernatural Detective and Others

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,147 Ratings  ·  125 Reviews
William Hope Hodgson produced a large body of work, consisting of essays, short fiction, and novels, spanning several overlapping genres including horror, fantastic fiction, and science fiction. Hodgson used his experiences at sea to lend authentic detail to his short horror stories, many of which are set on the ocean. One of the few late-Victorian writers of the supernatu ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Aegypan (first published 1913)
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Bill  Kerwin

Not as good as his "House on the Borderlands," but enjoyable and worthwhile nonetheless. These stories improve in quality as the book progresses, beginning with the hackneyed gothic claptrap of "The Thing Invisible" and ending with stories of true cosmic terror.

Carnacki himself is an interesting transitional figure, an eccentric bachelor in the Holmesian mode, who--although relying on his intellect and expertise--yet seems, at bottom, lonely and filled with self-doubt in the wake of his uncanny
Jan 21, 2015 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Edwardian ghost-hunters, detectives who hunt Cthulhu
William Hope Hodgson's stories were apparently published during the boom of detective fiction that followed the popularity of Sherlock Holmes, and Hodgson more or less follows Doyle's formula: each Carnacki story involves Carnacki going to investigate some unusual occurrence and using detective work to figure out what's going on. The difference is that Carnacki uses occult techniques as well as "scientific" instruments such as the "Electric Pentacle," and some of his cases actually turn out to b ...more
Starting off strong, I was struck by the effectiveness of Hodgson's writing. He tells a good ghost story, if not as subtle and gradual a build up as M.R. James, they are more tense and frightening, the supernatural forces (indeed, when they were supernatural) more malignant.

But after a while the foibles of his writing began to grate a little. For instance the tendency of Carnacki to constantly ask his listeners/reader "Do you follow?", "Can you possibly understand what I am trying to convey?", e
Aug 18, 2011 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
British author William Hope Hodgson's "Carnacki the Ghost-Finder" first saw the light of day in 1913. Consisting of six short stories, drawn from the pages of "The Idler" and "The New Magazine," the collection was ultimately expanded to include nine stories, these last three being discovered after Hodgson's early death, at age 40, in April 1918. In this fascinating group of tales, we meet Thomas Carnacki, a sort of occult investigator in Edwardian London. Just as Carnacki seems to be patterned o ...more
Lois Bujold
Aug 31, 2015 Lois Bujold rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lois by: mentioned in another book
I wandered into this and a few more of its ilk via recs from the afterword of The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal, which is among other things a pastiche of the period. That had an amusing bit featuring a club, the members of which are all assorted heroes of this then-popular genre. The edition of Carnacki I read was one of the, I believe, Project Gutenberg versions distributed for free on Amazon, and was well formatted and proofread.

It's done in a tales-told form, with the eponymous Carnacki y
Arun Divakar
The old masters of horror writing have always excelled in creating the atmosphere which slowly creeps upon the reader. If as a reader, I were to imagine being trapped in a haunted house this is how such an author would have written it (in lay-prose perhaps) :

When I woke up in a cold sweat past two in the morning, I wasn't really sure what awakened me. The rain was still falling heavily outside and it drowned out all sounds. Well, not all of them for that was when I realized what awakened me was
W.H. Hodgson es conocido sobre todo por ser el mejor escritor de relatos de terror ambientados en el mar que ha habido. Pero en su obra también hay sitio para otro tipo de cuentos de terror. Dentro del género de lo fantástico y lo sobrenatural, existe un apartado bastante curioso, el dedicado a los investigadores de lo oculto. A todos nos vienen a la cabeza los nombres de Mulder y Scully, pero este curioso subgénero empezó mucho antes, con el Doctor Hesselius creado por el gran Sheridan Le Fanu. ...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

'Complaints continue to reach us from all parts of the country to the effect that Mr. W. HOPE HODGSON's "Carnacki" stories are producing a widespread epidemic of Nervous Prostration! So far from being able to reassure or calm our nervous readers, we are compelled to warn them that "The Whistling Room", which we publish this month, is worse than ever. Our advertising manager had to go to bed for two days after reading the advance sheets; a proof reader has sent in his resignation; and, worst of a
J.G. Keely
Another paranormal investigator in the tradition of Van Helsing, Dr. Hesselius, and John Silence, I was curious to see what Hodgson would do with the idea, especially after reading his House on the Borderland and finding it to be refreshingly uncanny. Unfortunately, the Carnacki stories are so flat and formulaic that they add very little to the subgenre.

Every case follows the same pattern: a group of men gather at Carnacki's house and sit around for a bit before he suddenly launches into his s
Dec 16, 2012 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyable series of Sherlock Holmes-meets-H.P. Lovecraft stories, written in the last years before WW1. An entirely disposable narrator re-relates the after-dinner stories of the eponymous Carnacki, an Edwardian flâneur who goes on holiday with his mother and has invented, in ingenious cod-occult detail, such essential ghost-hunting kit as the Electric Pentacle.

It is distinguished by three things. First is Carnacki’s insistence on relating the precise physiological symptoms of his own
Charles Dee Mitchell
Although he had his predecessors, Sherlock Holmes’ appearance in the 1880’s set the pattern for the scientific investigation of crime. It did not take long for an occult element to be added to the genre. Algernon Blackwood anthologized his John Silence stories in 1908. In 1913, William Hope Hodgson collected his tales of Carnacki, the Ghost Finder.

Hodgson relates his stories in fine Edwardian style. An unnamed narrator is part of a group of gentlemen who assemble when summoned to the London home
Karl Steel
Read this because Eugene Thacker uses some of it to good effect in In the Dust of This Planet .

I recommend several of the longer goodreads Carnacki reviews, which hit all the important points.

Odd to come at this after reading Lovecraft (or, for that matter, Ligotti). Unlike Lovecraft's heroes, Carnacki seems to have no special affinity for the otherworldly. He's a scientist, not a man of culture, and doesn't feel himself to be an outsider. There's nothing gothic or romantic about him, nor about
Sep 27, 2008 F.R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this a lot, and at the end have the kind of feeling I would have had if I'd got to the end of 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' and discovered there were no more stories.

True, some of the stories are hokey (particularly those where the hauntings are man-made, very Scooby Doo) and the character of Carnacki doesn't have much character at all.

However good horror runs through these stories, and the descriptions of the supernatural incidents are as spinetingling as any out there.

Good collection of Carnacki stories, not William Hope Hodgson most compelling work but good enough written to enjoy the stories and the main character.
Nev Murray
Nov 15, 2014 Nev Murray rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favs
You're privileged again. 2 reviews of this one.

Review one: If you own a Kindle and read horror then you must get this......end of. IT IS FREE!!!!!!!

Review two: Thomas Carnacki is an Edwardian ghost hunter. Each time he goes on an adventure, when he returns he calls his 4 close friends Dodgson, Arkright, Jessop and Taylor to his house for dinner and a story. Carnacki is a very forthright chap. He is very set in his ways and can come across as curt in many instances but his friends keep coming bac
Apr 24, 2012 Ray rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, edwardian
A disappointing collection overall. The main problem is that most of the stories are longwinded and boring. Hodgson clearly has a remarkable visual imagination but his pedestrian writing (at least in this collection) fails to convey his scenes with any vividness or excitement. Then there is the "fish or fowl" problem: some of Carnacki's cases are supernatural through and through; others appear to be supernatural at first but turn out to result entirely from human agency; while still others end u ...more
It's important to remember these tales of Thomas Carnaki, the "Ghost Finder," were written prior to the Great War, a conflict which WH Hodgson did not outlive,dying in 1918 at Ypres. In that light, the narrative style, that of an after-dinner story told to a group of friends is very much in keeping with the era, the same form affected by Wells for "The Time Machine" and Conrad for "The Heart of Darkness." Actually, Carnaki's friends serve as naught but props for the telling of the story, for the ...more
When darkness fell and I encountered the frightening Casebook of Carnacki hinted at in certain passages of the Sigsand manuscript, a dreadful and intense feeling of acute boredom overcame me. It was like gazing into the abyss of repetition but a gaze effected with my "psychical" and not my "physical" eyes. Do you understand me at all? I made the seventh sign of the Saaamaaa ritual and could only hope that my electric pentacle would keep the yawning at bay, that my defences would hold - not like ...more
Del de la Mare
Nov 29, 2013 Del de la Mare rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favourites
Loved this book, probably about 4th or 5th time I have read it. The Kindle version does not have 'The Hog' or 'The Haunted Jarvee' and 'The Find' but they are available separately.
My favourite stories are 'The Horse of the Invisible','Gateway of the Monster' and 'The Thing Invisible'.
I have read some criticisms of the style or nature of the writing, but I think you have to read books like this while bearing in mind that they are approximately one hundred years old.

Incidentally 'The Horse of the
Leila Anani
This Anthology collects together 5 stories featuring Hope Hodgson's paranormal investigator Carnacki the Ghost Finder. In essence it's like a supernatural Sherlock Holmes and is very much ahead of it's times - it's urban fantasy 80 years before urban fantasy really became a genre. I can't believe this has never been televised. For shame!

The stories are a mixed bag ranging from outright paranormal with the marvellous 'The Gateway of the Monster' to Scooby-Doo style 'it was all a ruse' stories of
An interesting scientific approach that reminds me of Ghost Hunters and other modern day investigators, but there's a lot of referring to things that are never explained further, and the stories have very little variety case-wise. Carnacki goes to investigate, constructs a system of defence against the supernatural forces, and then either the supernatural force is vanquished or the whole thing is revealed to be a hoax.

It's all so formulaic that it makes me think whether Carnacki (who's an except
Hal Bodner
May 08, 2015 Hal Bodner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I rarely post a review of older books, let alone one that's been in the public domain for some time. But Hodgson's collection of short stories about an investigator of the supernatural is simply too delightful for me to miss the opportunity. Written roughly a century ago, with only minor exceptions, this collection is accessible enough so that it could have been written in modern times, albeit in the Gothic "style".

The premise is a simple one. Four men, one of whom is the narrator, gather at Ca
Timothy Ferguson
This was an early entry in the paranormal detective genre, as sort of ancestor to Kolchack and Dresden.It’s interesting in that sort of archaeological sense, but has difficulty for a modern reader because the author is tied up in period ideas of what’s scary. He apologizes for mentioning a maggot at one stage, as an example. The ghosts tend to be human body parts magnified in size.

Back when Hodgson was writing ghosts of themselves were scary. Now ghosts are only scary if they are doing scary thi
In the manner of the Sherlock Holmes stories, these tales concern a clever detective and are told by his sidekick. The difference, however, is that all the tales have a supernatural element. Rather than ultimately unmasking some supernatural hoax (such as the Hound of the Baskervilles), at times Carnacki wrestles with malign spirits. At other times, he does indeed unmask a hoax. In his pursuit of the truth, he employs a variety of ingenious devices of his own invention.

Carnacki himself is not a
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
I thought there was a reference to this in Libriomancer, but apparently not. (Unless Amazon's Search Inside results are lying to me.) I guess I just found it through wikisafari, either through looking up stuff about Jeeves and Wooster (P.G. Wodehouse) or Raffles (E.W. Hornung).

Anyway, however I found it, it was just an okay read. Carnacki made me think of Mercedes Lackey's Diana Tregarde, and to a lesser extent of Mulder from The X-Files — he is a believer and practitioner of occult knowledge, b
Apr 17, 2013 SuperHeroQwimm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book started off strong and I did enjoy it but in the end it did fail to keep my attention and I had to kinda coax myself through it. I think these stories would have been better if they weren't read together. Aside from the 'ghost hunts' the stories were too similar. It took only two of the stories before I was familiar with the set up and I don't like that. Why read if I can just tell myself the story in my head? Carnacki's friends would receive a 'call' to come to his house for dinner fo ...more
Nov 09, 2012 Celia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few days ago I downloaded a bunch of "ghost story" collections from Amazon Kindle, as well as Lefanu's novel Carmilla. Carnacki, The Ghost Finder is a collection of stories in which Carnacki narrates to four of his friends weird phenomena he has experienced and investigated. It is very easy reading, for anyone who wants to try it out. What struck me the most was the way Hodgson combined the supernatural or otherworldly with what I suppose one might call pseudoscience. Nevertheless, in several ...more
Alexander Draganov
Funny ghost stories, some hoaxes, some not, some a little bit of bot. A case of cozy horror - and yeah, I know that it sounds absurd!
Alejandro F. Orradre
Historias algo repetitivas pero entretenidas, tal vez demasiado parecidas a Lovecraft.
Ivanciu Alexis
An interesting collection of short horror stories to say the least, even though it does have its flaws. The tales follow the exploits of an investigator of the supernatural, proposing an interesting "what if ghosts" twist on the Sherlock Holmes detective story. The narrator, along with three other blokes, are regularly invited to dinner to listen to Carnacki brag about how he spent the previous night cowardly pissing himself in a corner, trying to unravel the latest horrific mystery, until he so ...more
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William Hope Hodgson was an English author. He produced a large body of work, consisting of essays, short fiction, and novels, spanning several overlapping genres including horror, fantastic fiction, and science fiction. Early in his writing career he dedicated effort to poetry, although few of his poems were published during his lifetime. He also attracted some notice as a photographer and achiev ...more
More about William Hope Hodgson...

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