Henry L. Ratliff

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Henry L. Ratliff

Henry L. Ratliff’s book reviews

Short story / Romance (Infatuation)


R: * * *


Plot bullets

This is a short, simple story of a young mans infatuation with the vision of a lovely girl, that he sees in a fountain.
The mystery is unexpectedly solved.
The girl is more than just 'The Vision of the Fountain'.

Twice-Told Tales were published in book form in 1837 and 1842. The individual stories had been published in periodicals previously. Thus twice-told.
07/25/2014
(1951) Ghost


R: * * * **


Plot bullets

A sick boy, is cared for, by a nurse.
The only thing that makes the boy happy, is a dog which the boy's s Grandfather brings late at night.
The nurse sees a positive change in the boy's health, due to these visits.
But, what else has she seen?

07/25/2014
(1879) Ghost story


R: * * * *
Plot bullets

A Poltergeist makes life miserable for a young girl.
A man documents the occurrences and wants to help.
He documents all, but can he save her?

07/25/2014
(1929) Horror (Occult) / Thriller


R: * * * * *


Plot bullets

The town of Dunwich lies in the Miskatonic Valley, where legends of evil abide.
Dunwich's , Whateley family is mysterious and even feared. Wilbur is perhaps the strangest member of the family, as he was born under strange circumstances and grows to manhood very early. The Whateley farm is given wide berth due to ever increasing sounds, odors and unexplained events.
Wilbur and his Grandfather are believed to deal in the supernatural. Wilbur takes on a task to obtain access to the famous book of the occult, the Necronomicon. With the knowledge in the book he could bring back the 'Old Ones, An ancient race that wants to take back their world
Wilbur's efforts to obtain the book are brought to the attention of a college professor Dr. Armitage, who knows the true terror held within it's pages.
Wilbur dies in his attempt to get the book. Back on the Whateley farm, strange things are happening. There are strange sounds, odors, destruction and even death. And this all seems to be caused by a huge, yet invisible beast.
Dr. Armitage and two fellow professors, who have been convinced of the danger at Dunwich, set out to investigate and end the menace. Perhaps Wilbur and his Grandfather were not the last of the Whateley's.
Perhaps it is only now that the town must deal with the true terror of 'The Dunwich Horror'.

First published in 'Weird Tales' vol 13, April 1929 Vol. 13, no. 4.

There is a 1970 movie version that loosely adheres to the plot. It adds a girl and Wilbur is a handsome sophisticated man. It unfortunately turns the theme into a satanical sexual story. The movie as a horror picture is good, but it is not 'The Dunwich Horror'.
07/23/2014
(1897) Mystery (Criminal) / Adventure (Survival) / Thriller (Conspiracy)


R: * * * *


Plot bullets

A ship catches fire and sinks. It appears that only one man survived.
The survivor lost everything, he lost the woman he loved.
That man soon finds that all is not as it seemed, and that his life may still be in danger. He is the only one who may give a different account of the tragedy.
As the situation unfolds, he discovers that the ship and it's passengers were sacrificed for criminal gains.
He finds his love alive and makes plans to save her, from what seems to be a strange captivity.
An evil plot was laid. The ship was sunk. The Innocent lives of men, women and children were taken. They unfortunately fit the classification of the old adage, 'Dead Men Tell No Tales'.

07/22/2014
(1915) Humor(Satire) / Political (Women\'s Suffrage)


R: * * * *


Plot bullets


Sarah Hayden Mosely has died. What she leaves behind, her will and the wealth it represents, will do more to and for, the residents of her county and state, than the total effect of all her living days on Earth.
She has left funds, from the Mosely Trust that she controlled, to establish \'The Co-Citizens\' Foundation Fund of Jordan County\'. The foundation\'s purpose, is in support of women suffrage.
The foundation has three prominent members, two women and one man. These three individuals must convince the men of the city, county and state to allow women the right to vote.
In addition, there was the money, loans, land and mortgages, held but the Mosely Trust, of which the organization has $20,000 a year, with which to work.
The foundation is cleverly lead and the new advantage it has, puts a different light on the balance of power and influence in the war between man and woman. Who has the greater staying power, the men, or the women that makeup and are known as \'The Co-Citizens\'.



I give it 4 of 5 stars.


The19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote in 1920.
07/14/2014
(1838) Horror (Gothic) / Supernatural (Ghost ship) / Adventure (Quest) / Romance (Tragic) / Nautical (Sailing ships)


First serialized in 'The New Monthly Magazine' March 1837 - August 1839.


R: * * * * *
Plot bullets

Philip Vanderdecken of the Netherlands, has a great task ahead of him. He has sworn an oath on behalf of his dead father, to return to him a sacred relic..
His father is the unfortunate captain of the 'Flying Dutchman' A ghost ship that is doomed to sail the oceans, never touching land, until the relic is returned and the father is forgiven for curses to heaven and the death of a crewman, Schriften, who's apparition tries to foil Philip's quest.
Philip falls in love with and marries Amine, but leaves her at home for several voyages while he tries to fulfill his oath. The phantom ship is sighted on several of his voyages which end in tragedy, and death for all but him.
He finally takes his wife on what he hopes is his last voyage. The ghost ship is again sited and tragedy befalls them . Philip and Amine are rescued separately.
Philip has repeated difficulties as he tries to find his way to his wife. Amine is put on trial by the Spanish Inquisition, for mystic procedures she conducted to discover Philip's fate..
Tragedy has plagued Phillip's life, and all those he has sailed with, befriended or loved have suffered the same fate. Will he ever be able to fulfill his quest and put to rest the endless wanderings of the Flying Dutchman, 'The Phantom Ship'?

07/12/2014
(1919) Fiction (Nautical) / Adventure (Mutiny)


R: * * * *


Plot bullets

The motto and epitaph of the sons of the House of Shore, is: 'All The Brothers Were Valiant'.
Joel Shore becomes the captain of the Nathan Ross, a whaling ship that was last captained by his brother, thought to be lost in the South Pacific.
Joel marries and takes his new wife on a commercial voyage for the ship's owners and in the hopes of determining if his brother Mark still lives.
Mark turns up with a not so valiant tale of his life in the islands. He is a changed man from the man that Joel knew, and he brings with him a tale of intrigue , murder and hidden treasure.
Mark wants to retrieve the treasure, but Joel does not want to do so, and this leads to strained relations between the brothers. The crew learns of the treasure and the brothers and crew are caught up in a mutiny.
Joel's wife does not understand his actions as Mark has swayed her opinion. She deems her husband a coward, for what appears to her to be a cowardly lack of action, with the crew and even Mark himself.
Life in the islands can change a man. It can make or break him. One brother is marked as a rogue and the other a coward.
The seeming impasse between brothers, husband and wife, and the crew has added danger and mistrust to the harshness and remoteness of a life on the sea. Will events alter and once again prove that 'All The Brothers Were Valiant'?

The story has been made into a movie several times.
07/07/2014
(1896) Horror (Gothic) / Short Story


R: * * * *


Plot bullets

The Griffith family has a curse on it.
The curse says that in each 9th generation, the son will kill his father.
Owen is a Griffith and a 9th son. His father is domineering and conflicts are likely.
Owen secretly marries and his new step-mother deliberately puts obstacles between Owen and his father.
Will Owen break the curse, or will he be the last to suffer 'The Doom of the Griffiths '

07/07/2014
(1930) Sci-fi (Space opera) / Adventure (Alien races/worlds) / Pulp (Universal peril) / Thriller (Techno)


Sequel to 'The Skylark of Space'


R: * * * * *


Plot bullets

It is a year after the Skylark II (the refitted Skylark I with the 'Arenak' shield) has returned from the 'Green System' and their adventure with their friends, the Osnomians. Seaton and his friends are visited on Earth, by Prince Dunark of Osnomia, with a plea for help in their fight with Urvan, another 'Green System' planet.
Seaton is working on the 'zone of force' and he, Martan, their wives and a trusted servant, set off to help their friends
Their arch antagonist Blackie DuQuesne has also been busy. Once again he teams up with the World Steel Corporation, in hopes of gaining Seaton's scientific procedures and inventions. He and an accomplice set out to find a race with even greater knowledge and powers, with the hope to overcome Seaton's advances.
The Skylark crew have a war to stop and Seaton's new powerful invention, the 'zone of force' to refine and test, as their goals. DuQuesne has powerful allies to gain and a plan for Seaton's' defeat to manage.
Seaton and DuQuesne are unaware of each others current venture, but they both soon find a greater foe. A super race, the Fenachrone, are on the rampage to conquer the universe. They are currently interested in the Green System, but no civilization is safe, even Earth.
The Skylark is rebuilt a second time, with the advance knowledge of the Norlaminians, who have joined forces to defeat the Fenachrones. The 'zone of force' is refined and it may be the only weapon to save the universe from destruction.
The fate of the universe depends on the bravery, ingenuity, skill and cunning of the crew of the new Skylark, the 'Skylark III.

07/05/2014
Christian White - Mystery/thriller Set Against the Backdrop of an Eerie Island Town
FEATURED AUTHOR - Christian White is an Australian author and screenwriter. His debut novel, The Nowhere Child, won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript.