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Quis Separabit

“Shortly after crossing La Touche Bridge and proceeding south along Rathmines Road, you will notice a nondescript and ultimately dead end lane stretching to the west. This is tiny Blackberry Lane, as evidenced by a sign bolted to the adjacent terrace, and in days past it was literally neither here nor there. This east-west lane was once a narrow and much lengthier bohreen beat through the dense foliage between the Earl of Meath’s lands to the south and the old Farm of St. Sepulchre to the north. It should arouse no curiosity that neither estate claimed this stretch of ground, as for countless generations it was primarily utilised by the dead. Until 1850, the lane served as a corpse road–a path used not only by funeral processions, but also, according to belief, by souls of the deceased.”


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Cover art by Jeffrey C. Roche

ISBN: N/A

No. 70 Merrion Square: Part 2

No. 70 Merrion Square has been published in two volumes and is told in a classic supernatural-tales style. Psychologist Dr. Sean McCormack is visiting his old friend in Dublin, Andrew Hampton, ‘this millennium’s master of the macabre,’ who fears he’s going mad. His address, 70 Merrion Square, once belonged to the Victorian ghost-story writer Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, and Hampton’s first book after purchasing the house was a commercial flop. Since then, he has failed to write another book.

“Is Hampton going mad, and can McCormack help him? Set on a rainy night shortly before Christmas in an old haunted mansion, No. 70 Merrion Square has all the trappings of a memorable ghost story and is enhanced by Spurlock’s atmospheric drawings.” – The Harrow


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Cover art by Duane Spurlock

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No. 70 Merrion Square: Part 1

“Anyone familiar with Brian J. Showers’ supernatural stories, presented in the delightful miniature chapbooks of Swan River Press, so tastefully illustrated by Duane Spurlock and Meggan Kehrli, will not be disappointed by his latest publication: No. 70 Merrion Square. Aficionados will recognise the address of the Dublin house where the great Sheridan Le Fanu wrote some of his finest tales and spent the last lonely decades of his life. Showers has cleverly engaged with the motif of Le Fanu by writing a story in which the protagonist, a horror author seeking renewed inspiration, settles in the house and encounters troubling experiences.

“Inter-textual references, to classic and contemporary supernatural writers, constantly inform the narrative, making it great fun for the connoisseur; and it is threaded with a vein of wry humour, tastefully and effectively juxtaposed against the horror, never an easy task. Throughout, the narrative displays the author’s lucid prose style and easy pace, a hallmark of all his previous work: in a phrase, Showers is a damned good story-teller, as well as a master of atmosphere and a shrewdly informed practitioner of the ghostly tale. Working closely within established genre conventions–haunted house, ghostly possession, numinous dreams, the angry dead, the inspiration and alienation of the artist, and the borderland between insanity and the supernatural– Showers has written a superb tribute to Victorian Gothic set within 21st Century Dublin. Few modern writers can be as versed in the supernatural heritage of that atmospheric city, with its strange mix of glitzy economic miracle and elegantly sombre past.” – Peter Bell


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Cover art by Duane Spurlock

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Tigh an Bhreithimh

A struggling writer travels to a remote cottage in western Ireland for the solitude and inspiration he needs to finish writing his first novel. But when the forgotten secrets of the desolate landscape want to be remembered, he learns a lesson in fear, one more terrifying than any tale he could ever write. In the tradition of M. R. James and J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Brian J. Showers’s Tigh an Bhreithimh is a tale that is sure to please fans of the traditional ghost story.

“I really enjoyed Tigh an Bhreithimh, which is a nicely written ghost story set in a small town in Ireland. The atmosphere—puzzle and horror—is very well handled, and the folkways are interesting. The story is conveyed in a small, attractive chapbook with good line illustrations by Duane Spurlock.” – E. F. Bleiler


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Cover art by Duane Spurlock

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The Snow Came Softly Down

“Small but perfectly formed, The Snow Came Softly Down by Brian J. Showers is a delightfully-produced little chapbook with its own ribbon marker and simple but effective line drawings by Duane Spurlock, containing ‘A Tale Concerning Ghosts’. You would expect from this, and from the old-fashioned typeface, that it is set in a more innocent era, and so it proves. M. R. James would probably disapprove of the decidedly benign spooks, but the tale cannot be faulted for atmosphere–especially the protagonist’s scary walk through the freezing woods on Christmas Eve. If I call the tone of the story ‘Dickensian’ it is meant as a compliment, evoking as it does those semi-mythical White Yuletides depicted on a certain type of Christmas card… but with added creepiness. Wordsworth’s poem ‘Lucy Gray’, possibly an inspiration to the tale and certainly complementing it, rounds off this charming book.” – Chico Kidd, All Hallows


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Cover art by Duane Spurlock

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The Old Tailor & The Gaunt Man

“Here is a small treat from The Swan River Press in Dublin, Ireland: an old-fashioned ghost story in a hand-sewn binding with soft covers and its own ribbon marker. Brian J. Showers, an expatriate American writer living in Dublin, reveals an expert hand at deploying the shadows and portents, ironic disclosures, and gradual accumulation of detail, which still make the masters of supernatural fiction so chillingly entertaining to this day. His tale of a lonely old tailor eking out a miserable existence who discovers ‘there is still enough faith for dark things to walk the night’ is a delightful folkloric ghost story in a gently facetious and slightly antique tone reminiscent of Charles Dickens and Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. The text is complemented by Meggan Kehrli’s arabesque cover design, six full-page illustrations, and an equal number of spot illustrations, all of which add to the work’s eerie charm. This is perfect fare for solitary reading on blustery autumn evenings or a group gathered round the holiday fireplace in expectation of a Winter’s Tale.” – Jim Rockhill, All Hallows

  • Reprinted in Acquainted with the Night (Ash Tree Press, 2004)

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Cover art by Meggan Kehrli

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The Complete Ghost Stories of Chapelizod

“One does well not to under-appreciate the ever-alive allure of reminiscences begotten in childhood . . . Chapelizod, like the Irish capital of which it was in effect a suburb, in the early 1800s glumly epitomised the glamour and the grandeur that was gone: ‘Dead walls; dead trees overhanging them; dead lights instead of windows in the houses; the men grave, the women lifeless, the little spirits squeaking and gibbering in the muddy streets!’ Thus must it have appeared to the sensitive mind of the child who grew up to be the author of Uncle Silas, Wylder’s Hand, and The House by the Church-yard—this last the writer’s towering salute to the village and its picturesque environs which had sparked his eager imagination before it could shape itself in prose. Although the Le Fanu family moved to the mid-west of Ireland in 1826, with Reverend Le Fanu’s appointment as Dean of Emly and Rector of Abington, and much of his elder son’s early macabre tales are set in this region and elsewhere in the Irish countryside, the memory of Chapelizod lay dormant in the writer’s mind for twenty-five years before being unleashed in the stories which feature in this book.” -from the Introduction by Albert Power

This edition commemorates the 160th anniversary of “Ghost Stories of Chapelizod” (1851) and the 150th anniversary of The House by the Church-yard (1861-1863), and is the first time “Some Gossip about Chapelizod” (1851) has been re-printed.


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J. S. Le Fanu Series #3

Cover design by Brian J. Showers
Introduction by Albert Power

ISBN: N/A

The Ballads and Poems of J. Sheridan Le Fanu

“When in the year 1880 I wrote a memoir of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, as a Preface to his “Purcell Papers”, I was not aware that, besides being the author of the Irish poems contained in that collection of Irish stories and of the celebrated “Shamus O’Brien”, Le Fanu had anonymously contributed half-a-dozen other poems to the Dublin University Magazine between the years 1863 and 1866; two of which . . . exhibit Le Fanu’s genius in a new and unexpected light. They show him to have been capable of dramatic and lyrical creation on a distinctly higher plane than he had hitherto reached . . . The same magnetic attributes of superhuman mystery, grim or ghastly humour and diabolic horror which characterise the finest of his prose fictions meet us again.” from the Introduction by A. P. Graves

This booklet reproduces much of the contents of The Poems of Le Fanu, which was first published in 1896. The original introduction by Alfred Perceval Graves is herein reproduced as are the appendices. New to this edition are extracts from Seventy Years of Irish Life in which the author’s brother, William Le Fanu, included extracts of juvenile poetry (“O’Donoghue” and “Valentine to Miss K”); and a selection of contemporary reviews.


Booklet edition limited to 200 copies.

J. S. Le Fanu Series #2

Cover design by Brian J. Showers
Introduction by Alfred Perceval Graves

ISBN: N/A

My Aunt Margaret’s Adventure

“My Aunt Margaret’s Adventure” is reminiscent of the great terror tales of mounting alarm such as Wilkie Collins’s “A Terribly Strange Bed”; the hotel scene, to a lesser extent, in Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”; James Whale’s The Old Dark House; and the more recent film The Last Great Wilderness (2002) directed by David Mackenzie. In fact, with their often arch and sardonic senses of humour, the latter two examples are most appropriate comparisons. Comfort and safety are fleeting in stories like these. Familiar and generally hospitable surroundings quickly take turns into strange worlds of indefinable menace. Terror mounts. A candle going out may be discomforting, but an accident befalling your only light source is downright sinister. Like Aunt Margaret, the reader is cursed with an active mind courtesy of the author’s vivid prose rich in regional flavour and Gothic detail. It’s only a matter of time—we can just feel it in our bones!—before the other shoe drops.

“My Aunt Margaret’s Adventure” first appeared in the March 1864 issue of the Dublin University Magazine, which was then under the editorship of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. The DUM was a regular venue for Le Fanu’s work. The February issue contained the final instalments of his novel Wylder’s Hand, while the April issue saw the publication of “Wicked Captain Walshawe of Wauling”—”My Aunt Margaret’s Adventure” appeared in the interceding issue. Believed by M. R. James and S. M. Ellis to be the work of Le Fanu, “My Aunt Margaret’s Adventure” shares many motifs, themes, and effects found in the Irish author’s work. This new edition will feature commentary on the story and its authorship by two leading Le Fanu scholars, Jim Rockhill (introduction and annotations) and Gary W. Crawford (afterword).


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J. S. Le Fanu Series #1

Cover art by Allison Elrod
Introduction by Jim Rockhill
Afterword: Gary William Crawford

ISBN: N/A

J. S. Le Fanu: A Concise Bibliography

“As my book J. Sheridan Le Fanu: A Bio-Bibliography (Greenwood Press, 1995) has shown, cataloguing Le Fanu’s work is no easy task. There are many snares and chasms, omissions and errors to be found on the bibliographer’s journey. Most difficult is the fact that many of Le Fanu’s works were published anonymously in Victorian magazines. This has been further complicated by the fact that Le Fanu’s account books, notebooks and other papers were dispersed and lost after his death. There are undoubtedly many unsigned items produced by Le Fanu’s pen that will never be found.

“This concise edition of that bibliography was edited, re-organised and amended by Brian J. Showers, with assistance from Richard Dalby. A major difference is that the magazine appearances are listed chronologically to help give a sense of Le Fanu’s development as a writer. The listing of books is selective as to first editions and major appearances, as is the secondary material with annotations provided for landmark critical works.” – from the “Preliminary Word” by Gary W. Crawford


Booklet edition limited to 200 copies.

J. S. Le Fanu Series #0

Cover design by Brian J. Showers
Preliminary Word by Gary William Crawford

ISBN: N/A