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The plot of this short story is of a young man in Venice who is taken back to her Palazzo by an aristocratic woman he meets in a restaurant. Her bedroom is large, some forty feet long. As they are getting into bed he realizes that the light is still on and the switch is at the far end of the bedroom door. He begins to go to switch it off, but the woman stops him, extends her arm which gets longer and longer until it reaches the switch and plunges the room into darkness. End of story. I read this story many years ago and have never since been able to find the author.

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  • Is the horror part just the artificial arm?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Feb 2, 2022 at 12:02
  • Ahh this instantly reminded me of The Doomsday Conspiracy by Sidney Sheldon, but I see you have already confirmed another work as the one you were seeking.
    – Moo
    Feb 3, 2022 at 0:21

1 Answer 1

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William Sansom, 'A Woman Seldom Found.'

Something was wrong. A flaw could be sensed. He listened, felt – and then saw the fault was his. Shaded, soft-shaded lights by the bed – but he had been so careless as to leave on the bright electric chandelier in the centre of the ceiling. He remembers the switch was by the door. For a fraction, then, he hesitated. She raised her eyelids – saw his glance at the chandelier, understood.
Her eyes glittered. She murmured, “My beloved, don’t worry – don’t move ...”
And she reached out her hand.
Her hand grew larger, her arm grew longer and longer, it stretched out through the bed-curtains, across the long carpet, huge and overshadowing the whole of the long room, until at last its giant fingers were at the door.

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  • Very nice. Were you already familiar with this one?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Feb 2, 2022 at 12:57
  • @NoGoArea - Hi, welcome to the site. Could you explain why you think this is the right book, i.e. hwo it matches the one described in the question? Feb 2, 2022 at 12:59
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    I've just re-read it! I remember a friend of mine telling me about this story many years (about 40....) ago, and how creepy she found it. Then some time later I found it in an anthology. I remembered the title, and I've just Googled it to find the author (and a copy of it that I've just re-read: it's only two pages long.) The only difference from the OP's description of it is that the story is set in Rome, not Venice.
    – NoGoArea
    Feb 2, 2022 at 13:31
  • Many thanks Fuzzy boots. Been bugging me for many years as to who the author was. The only thing my memory played me false, was that the story was set in Rome, not Venice as I remembered it. Inspired by it, I wrote my own version, set in Venice.
    – alex
    Feb 2, 2022 at 16:36
  • @alex Don't forget to "accept" the answer by clicking on the "check" sign
    – Alfred
    Feb 8, 2022 at 6:54

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