Petals and Violins

D.P. Watt
Petals and Violins Cover

Petals and Violins: Fifteen Unsettling Tales


The Three Witches from Macbeth would feel quite at home reading this collection of strange horror and supernatural tales. Evocative imagery and disturbing twists are staples, as D.P. Watt explores what lurks in the shadows of reality.

Short stories obviously have self-imposed constraints when it comes to character development and narrative focus, so it takes a great deal of skill to draw a novel-reader like myself in quickly, and to get them back out again in a satisfying (or intentionally unsatisfying) manner. This book contains exceptional examples of this skill with gems like BLOOD AND SMOKE, VINEGAR AND ASHES and THE ROCKING HORSE. Watt takes this skill to another level with the centerpiece, CONFLAGRATION, in which connects a couple of dozen seemingly unrelated vignettes, the first of which takes place in 1895, and thenceforth in chronological order until the last, which is in present day. Each vignette stands alone with as a short, sharp shock; but, on closer inspection they all explore some aspect of theatre (however loosely this theme may be applied to some), and they all may or may not involve the same character, "he". Impressive craftsmanship as an author to say the least.

If you decide to read this, don't skip the introduction by Peter Holman! It's essentially a bonus short story about D.P. Watt, and very cleverly serves the purpose of an introduction with some creative fanfare.