Tales of Terror from the Tunnel’s Mouth was another great book by Chris Priestly, however I prefer the stories that were told in the in the first two books in comparison to this one. With this story I kind of new what was coming, or I at least guessed the twist half way through.
In this tale of terror a boy named Robert is going off to school and waiting for a train with his step-mother. She falls asleep while they wait only to wake up and tell him she feels uneasy about him taking the first train. Something about a woman, a tunnel, and a kiss. Robert being eager to get away from his step-mother brushes her fears aside and takes the train.
Robert meets some men that sit in his section and then falls asleep. When he awakens the train has stopped at a tunnel, everyone’s asleep and there’s a woman in white sitting across from him. Apparently something is wrong with the train.
Although Robert feels like falling asleep like the rest of the passengers he stays awake and the woman in white tells him stories to pass the time. There are stories about : A fathers greed and his deadly love of botany. Two boys learning a lesson, that it’s best to listen to your elders. The hardships of baby-sitting. How jealousy between girls can sometimes be deadly. The importance of respecting tradition, even if it’s one you don’t understand. The soul sucking business of being a puppeteer. Punishing kids can leave you teeth-less. How One can succumb to death by flies. How sometimes it’s best not to look through the hole in your wall. And lastly when marrying a newly widowed man with a daughter, try not to project thoughts of murdering her onto the girl in question.
In the end, Robert figures out the real reason his fellow passengers will not wake up and who the woman in white really is.
The thing I notice in this book, is Chris Priestly isn’t afraid to kill the “good guy.” In most stories it’s usually the “bad guy” that gets hurt, or taught a lesson. In Chris Priestly stories, bad things can happen to anyone, even the characters that are seemingly innocent and don’t deserve it. I like and dislike that about his writing. Part of me is like “why let the poor innocent girl get turned into a puppet!” but then the other half of me is thinking “well if every story was predictable, what would be the point in reading it?”