top of page
The Antiquary's Wife Anchor

Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine March 2013


Folk legend, prejudice, and suspicion haunt a young American couple traveling the Ukrainian countryside of the 19th century. A 2014 Derringer Award finalist.

Length: Short Story

Setting: Odessa and the Ukrainian countryside, 1899

Genres: Mystery, Historical, Weird fiction

Main Characters: Lilly Scarborough, Tasia and Eleni Karadopoulina

THE ANTIQUARY'S WIFE was reprinted in the anthology IN SHADOWS WRITTEN


“This gripping historical paranormal thriller, set in Odessa at the turn of the twentieth century, hooks the reader immediately with the intrigue surrounding the antiquary’s wife and her mysterious luggage. William Burton McCormick has created a fascinating short story which pulls you deeper and deeper into the horror and doesn't release you until the very last word. McCormick is a masterful short storyteller. He exquisitely recreates his historic setting in concise but rich detail and breathes life and depth into his characters with just a few sentences. His portrayal of the Scarboroughs’ relationship was both realistic and humorous; the ensuing horror became all the more poignant because of this. This is a story that you won’t forget in a hurry. ”

--Karen Charlton, bestselling author of The Detective Lavender Series

“Tipping his hat to Edgar Allen Poe, and winking at Bram Stoker, in The Antiquary's Wife, William Burton McCormick takes you straight back to 1899, and a world where the very creepy Old, and the dangerously curious - and arrogant - New collide with deliciously unpleasant results. The writing is particularly lovely - especially in describing the countryside and the port of Odessa - providing a counterpoint to the Very Nasty that you know is lurking. I love music boxes, but it might be a while before I open one again...especially if it has a curio drawer.  McCormick's characters, his sly humor, and his taste for the unpleasant make his stories a pleasure to read every time. More! ”

--Lucretia Grindle, author of Nightspinners, The Faces of Angels, and Villa Triste

“An American woman traveling through Eastern Europe in the late nineteenth century provides the setting for this dark tale, told in a style reminiscent of the period in which it is set.  She carries with her a huge box when she arrives at the guest house of the mother of the young narrator, Anastasia.  The contents of the huge box that is placed in the woman’s room with great effort is a source of mystery to Tasia, as is the woman’s story. Slowly Anastasia pieces together the woman’s story and inevitably opens the box.  McCormick creates a tension that he builds slowly with such craft that, like Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black, the reader just revels in the delicious thrill of it. ”

--Kristin Gleeson, author of Selkie Dreams and Along the Far Shores

bottom of page