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Cupboard of Skeletons

by Raymond Nickford


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A book of short stories, each a psychological thriller about dysfunctional relationships. In the first story, "The Hypnotist", a young nurse named Miranda goes to see a psychologist, Dr. Harditch, for hypnosis to ease her phobia of spiders. I guess you could say he cured her, but I wouldn't want to be one of his patients. This is not a story for the squeamish. It's intense, descriptive, fast-paced, and reminds of stories from Tales From the Crypt.

The second story, "Haunted by Amy", is ten chapters long and is about a former school teacher, Matthew, and the teenage student, Amy, with whom he had an affair. He suspects her of murdering his friend Philip. But he also admits that he might be clinically paranoid.

"The Parchment Recipes" is a paranormal mystery about a widow with a not-so-nice mother. The widow finds a parchment in her kitchen late one night, and mysterious things begin to happen.

Atmospheric scenes and poignant themes centering around odd, troubled characters whose lives are driven to extremity, drawn on, still, by the tantalizing hope - sometimes delivered by fate or fortune - of happiness.

Moving, dysfunctional lives and relationships; hypnotist and patient, a strained romance, paranoid father and daughter, eccentrics, making normal relationships difficult. Some ghostly presences but the 'Cupboard of Skeletons' is more a euphemism for people with embarrassing secrets coming to haunt and test their lives and how, despite despair, they try to find something of their dreams.


"Beautifully observed characters, atmospheric, intriguing."
Barbara Erskine - best selling author of Lady of Hay.

"Vibrant, spooky, a real page-turner."
Reay Tannahill - historian and author of The Seventh Son.

"Skellies in the Closet? Everybody has them. Dark secrets. Troubled pasts. Or the repeated inability to hit the mark. When our spirits are low, we crave dark music. Just as medicinal, however, are well-crafted stories of things macabre, chronicles of lives that take us either in or outside of ourselves. Or both.
The stories are about living and choices and missteps; they will undoubtedly haunt your thoughts for some time.
Nickford's prose is mesmerizing, yet his delightful dry humour arises just often enough to charm us along the way."
John Campbell - author of Walk to the Paradise Garden

"All the characters are built up so stealthily we can fail to notice that odd behaviour could develop into obsession and dark foreboding secrets."
Daniel Manning - author of No Compatibility.

"The meticulous, obsessive nature of paranoia is beautifully depicted."
Jann King - author of Making Connections.

"Eccentrics abound and yet what chills is that for the most part the people in this collection seem so normal - on the surface. They are like friends whose past or darker secrets you'd never have thought of questioning... until right up there next to you when you're completely alone with them and the real chill dawns."
- Ralph Porter

"A brilliant piece of work tapping into the psychological attributes of its characters."
T.L. Tyson - author of Seeking Eleanor.

"The sense of atmosphere and place developed is exquisitely detailed."
Jack Hughes - author of Dawn of Shadows.


"Thus when I come to shape here at this table between my hands the story of my life and set it before you as a complete thing, I have to recall things gone far, gone deep, sunk into this life or that and become part of it; dreams, too, things surrounding me, and the inmates, those old half-articulate ghosts who keep up their hauntings by day and night......

Publication Details

Raymond Nickford
Smashwords Edition
Publication Date:


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Raymond Nickford (Author)

Raymond Nickford has said "To me, people are stranger than fiction and in many ways more fascinating." Perhaps this is what first led him to his degree in Philosophy and Psychology from the University College of North Wales and which has subsequen...

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