By the Dying Tree
“Here’s a large number of Michael’s stories, mostly supernatural, but with an unusual viewpoint. They take the existence of the supernatural for granted, but mostly from a very practical Glaswegian viewpoint of ‘what’s in it for me?’ which is shared by the ghosts themselves. “How much d’you charge to haunt hooses?” is a common Glasgow insult, but you get the impression that Michael’s ghosts come with a rate card – and a list of penalty clauses on the back. There’s a lot of old-style Glasgow socialism here too – a lot of references that Hamish Henderson would have been proud of, and unless he’s cited here and I’ve missed it, I’ve probably just given Michael an idea for another story. But if anyone states a common theme running through the collection, it’s the character who notes that in other cultures ghosts are to be feared and avoided, whereas the Brits revel in having them, want them to be here, summon them up or even call them into existence. And the moral Michael points up from that is, ‘Beware of what you wish for – you might get it” Duncan Lunan.