"The Purple Sapphire" is about the only story that succeeds as a genuine supernatural tale even with its more subtle forms of parody. "The House on the Way to Hell" is outright parody - mostly a send up of stories that talk about lost books. It's a one joke story really that just repeats itself for far too long. "Pupura Lapillus" is, I am sure, a parody of Robert Chambers' writing and tells the story of a history professor who when studying the purple dye in an odd species of whelk is transported back to ancient Rome (the dye was used to color the robes of the nobility then). In "The Demon" a quack physician cares for a woman dying of cancer who miraculously recovers and is thought to be possessed of a demon but it's unconvincing.
|Heron-Allen was also a violin maker in his youth|
"Aalila" in fact has an eerily similar plot to William Sloane's SF horror novel To Walk the Night. No critics to my knowledge have ever mentioned this, but it is so similar I find it hard to ascribe it to mere coincidence. Sloane must have been familiar with the Heron-Allen's story prior to writing his book.