Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Lawrence, Margery

(1889-1969) UK writer who specialized in Ghost Stories and who spent much of her time commenting upon the supernatural in nonfiction terms. In many articles and books, like Fifty Strangest Stories Ever Told (coll 1937), she related various "true" ghostly happening from her own experience, and most of her best tales were closely based on reports and observations. Ferry Over Jordan (1944) is a study in the occult. She took part in a great many "clearings" of Haunted Dwellings, as discussed in her foreword to Ghosts Over England (1953) by R Thurston Hopkins (1884-1958).

Her first collections – the Round Table Club Story sequence, told within a Frame Story and comprising Nights of the Round Table (coll 1926) and The Terraces of Night (coll 1932) – assemble Supernatural Fictions, usually featuring malevolent and horrific visitations. In "The Curse of the Stillborn" (1925) an outraged Egyptian god takes revenge; "The Woozle" sees a ghostly creature in a nursery cupboard seemingly created by the power of suggestion in a child's mind (> Invisible Companion); "Morag-of-the Cave" is dominated by a toad-white shape, ghastly and "obscenely awful to see", which communicates in a strange and terrible tongue; and "Mare Amore" (1931) describes the ultimate power and vengeance of "the spirit of the sea". Her second series is the Miles Pennoyer Occult-Detective sequence: Number Seven, Queer Street (coll 1945) and Master of Shadows (coll 1959).

Several of ML's later novels also deal with the occult and with the Spiritualism that particularly infuses the Round Table tales. They include: The Bridge of Wonder (1939), which is about mediums; The Rent in the Veil (1951), a tale of Reincarnation, in which a 1940s woman falls in love with a long-dead Roman centurion; The Tomorrow of Yesterday (1966), in which a Martian conveys, via Séance, the story of the founding and destruction of the Martian colony of Atlantis; Bride of Darkness (1967), in which a man realizes his loving wife is a Witch devoted to Satan; and A Residence Afresh (1969), about communications from the "Other Side". [RD]

other works: The Floating Cafe and Other Stories (coll 1936); Strange Caravan (coll 1941).

Margery Lawrence

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This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.