Horror Short Story Review: “The Diary of Philip Westerly” by Paul Compton
According to his nephew, Philip Westerly disappeared and left nothing but a smashed mirror. His nephew has heard a lot of wild stories about what might have happened, but none of them are as wild as Westerly’s diary.
He mentions that his uncle was wealthy, as well as cruel and selfish. One of his whims, in addition to keeping a diary, was keeping mirrors. He liked standing in front of his mirrors. Perhaps admiring himself?
The first entry mentions that someone named Billings asked him for an extension on a note. Westerly saw no reason why he should grant him any such thing. Billings began cursing him in a frightful manner.
That night, as Westerly was dressing for dinner, he glanced at himself in the mirror. He was tying his tie. His reflection wore no tie. His reflection stood in the mirror looking back at him, but it followed none of his movements. It was immobile!
The ending of this short tale is not a surprise. It bears some resemblance to “The Picture of Dorian Gray” but is a different story. Not only does the reader have the nephew’s word that his uncle is a jerk, the first diary entry provides an example of Westerly being a heartless jerk-in-action. Does he deserve his fate? Hard to say.
This story is available as a free download through Project Gutenberg.
Title: “The Diary of Philip Westerly” first published Weird Tales August Sept 1936
Author: Paul Compton
Last review: “The Delegate from Venus” by Henry Slesar
Last weird review: “The Lame Priest” by Susan Carleton Jones
©2015 Denise Longrie
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