In a grimy retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” T. Kingfisher expands on the world of the classic short story in which a friend is called upon to visit the decrepit, mold encrusted ancestral home of siblings Roderick and Madeline Usher.
The last of the Usher line, Roderick is desperate for help and companionship while his sister Madeline suffers from a strange illness with symptoms including sleepwalking and an unnerving manner of speech. Their visitor wishes to help but how can you stop a malady’s advancement when it encompasses the entire estate and just might have a mind of its own.
With Poe’s story as a starting point, T. Kingfisher adds a few characters (an American doctor and an amateur mycologist), thoughts about gender nonconformity, and a modern scientific understanding of parasitic fungi and its mind controlling effect on its hosts.
What Moves the Dead is a quick breezy read considering how creepy it is. Read it on a cool damp night in a musty basement for best effect.