"Of course I am much better now, but it is a kindness of you to let me sleep in your cabin".On his 'way out to the East' on the steamer Osiris, the narrator of Perceval Landon's story is approached by a solitary fellow passenger, Colvin, who nervously asks his permission to share his cabin on the voyage. It is an unusual request, and when asked for an explanation, Colvin describes a harrowing night he has recently spent at the house of the title.
'Thurnley Abbey' is a traditional ghost story framed in something quite different (more of this later). And as a traditional ghost story it works well enough. Colvin has been invited by friends to the house of the title, an ivy-clad, part medieval, part Jacobean house full of tapestries, shadows and wood panelling, ostensibly to share in a weekend's entertaining. But it soon becomes clear that his friends have ulterior motives for inviting him. They are evasive, distracted. And there are rumours, of course, that the house is haunted. Just by what nobody seems to know, but a ghostly nun is mentioned.