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Petals and Violins

Fifteen Unsettling Tales

D.P. Watt

Introduction by Peter Holman, Afterword by Helen Marshall


Cardboard and twine; rose petals and violins.

Blood and betrayal; hope and empires.

Sun and candlelight; oil on water

and the magic of sweat.


D.P. Watt’s unsettling tales draw back the curtain on other realities, hidden just beyond our own; shifting pasts and futures are conjured through the mystery of old postcards and the beckoning lights of distant windows; the horrors of the twentieth century erupt through the absurd experimentation of the theatrical avant-garde; a young woman’s tragedy is witnessed through the eyes of a discarded doll; a taxidermist’s craft reaches a monstrous apotheosis; grief renders families distant and lost, ushering in unwelcome ghosts and visions; folk magic preserves the fleeting events of dreams and memories, whilst promising glimpses of heaven or hell.



'The Sanity of Madness: An Introduction to D.P.Watt' by Peter Holman

'Blood and Smoke, Vinegar and Ashes'

'The Magician, or, Crab Lines'

'But They Withered All'


'We Don’t Want for Company'




'Oh, Pretty Polly!'

'The Rocking Horse'

'The Pedagogue, or, They Muttered'

'Our Second Home'

'A Species of the Dead'

'Golden in the Mercy of His Means'

'Four Windows and a Door'

'Afterword' by Helen Marshall

Publication History



Illustration ‘Sulfur III’ by Marcela Bolívar



"Watt creates terrifying situations in prosaic settings in this superior collection. . . .  The standout is 'Blood and Smoke, Vinegar and Ashes,' which gains its power through Watt’s artful incremental ratcheting up of the tension. . . . Fans of daylight horror will be eager to seek out more of Watt’s work." Publishers Weekly


"... a fine collection that seized my attention with the opening story and held it to the last. It’s rich, varied and entertaining and draws on a range of traditions from the library of the weird. In addition, it proves the form is vital, relevant to our era and capable of endless reinvention. A compelling set of tales..."Andy Hedgecock, Black Static #74


"...the large majority of the included material is of high quality, confirming Watt's ability to produce excellent yarns bound to fascinate and disquiet the reader." Mario Guslandi at SFRevu


"It goes without saying that a writer this experienced is fully on top of his craft, and can turn a phrase or string a narrative with hooks. Weird or dark fiction, ghost stories, horror or surrealism, whatever you call it, this loose cluster of genres is in rude good health in Britain right now, and D.P. Watt is a tremendously accomplished practitioner." Paul St.John Mackintosh



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