Posted in Short Story

Deal Me In, Week 34 ~ “The N Auntie”


Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis

“The N Auntie” by Anne McCaffrey

Card picked: Eight of Hearts

From: David Copperfield’s Beyond Imagination

Review: Set in Ireland, during a minor outbreak of whooping cough presumably in the 1990s, Ciara and a group of other mothers discover a troubling trend. Children are dying of illnesses that they might recover from after a visit from a little old lady who passes herself off as a distant great-aunt. This great-aunt always takes an N name, like Nellie or Nora or Naomi. The N Auntie has been around for decades. The oldest member of their community, a woman in her nineties, remembers a visit from the same “aunt.” The women use some amateur detecting skills to figure out where the aunt will strike next and confront her.

The majority of this story lays out the background of the narrator and how this menacing old lady is discovered. There is a genuinely creepy aspect to this woman because she gains entrance into people’s lives through the trust we extend to family. (I’m reminded of when a distant cousin stopped to visit on his way through Nebraska. None of us had ever met him. He could have been nearly anybody!) Unfortunately, this story falls down at the end. As supernatural entities go, the N Auntie turns out to be rather mundane and dealing with her comes down to an accidental event. Considering some of the top bar writing I’ve encountered lately, this story was somewhat disappointing.

About the Author: Anne McCaffrey is one of the heavy-weights of fantasy literature with her Dragonriders of Pern series. Having said that, I will admit that I’ve never been much of a fan.