While Halloween usually presents the unedifying spectacle of adults behaving like children in ridiculous costumes (something wicked this way comes, indeed), this year, a much-beloved tale of the paranormal will be republished. On October 29, Criterion Books, an imprint of Encounter Books, will release a new edition of Old House of Fear, the first novel by the visionary conservative thinker Russell Kirk, originally published in 1961. Drawing on his time at the University of St Andrews, where he was the first American to earn a doctorate of letters, Kirk sets his story in the Outer Hebrides, where foul dealings are afoot. Most of our readers know Kirk as a conservative lodestar, but Old House of Fear shows a different side of his genius. Bolshevik mystics, Irish republicans, and an enchanting ingénue populate the scene.

To say more would be to spoil the pleasure of reading this ghoulish story from a master of the mystery genre. We founded Criterion Books to give voice to worthy publications outside the vagaries of The New York Times best seller list, and we are delighted to bring this tale back into print. With a new introduction by our own James Panero, this edition is sure to thrill.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 38 Number 2, on page 3
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