Reviewed: The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories (ed. Michael Newton)

This is a book with a TOC to be proud of:

Elizabeth Gaskell: The Old Nurse’s Story

Fitz-James O’Brien: What Was It?

Edward Bulwer Lytton: The Haunted and the Haunters: or, The House and the Brain

Mary Elizabeth Braddon: The Cold Embrace

Amelia B. Edwards: The North Mail

Charles Dickens: No. 1 Branch Line: The Signal-man

Sheridan Le Fanu: Green Tea

Harriet Beecher Stowe: The Ghost in the Cap’n Brown House

Robert Louis Stevenson: Thrawn Janet

Margaret Oliphant: The Open Door

Rudyard Kipling: At the End of the Passage

Lafcadio Hearn: Nightmare-Touch

W. W. Jacobs: The Monkey’s Paw

Mary Wilkins Freeman: The Wind in the Rose-Bush

M. R. James: ‘Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad’

Ambrose Bierce: The Moonlit Road

Henry James: The Jolly Corner

Mary Austin: The Readjustment

Edith Wharton: Afterward

I generally pay little attention to the author’s gender, but in this collection, I thought, many of the stories written by the male authors had a faint pomposity, which lent the upper hand to the female writers who just got on with the job of telling a creepy tale. Hence my personal favourites were The Ghost in the Cap’n Brown House by Harriet Beecher Stowe, The Open Door by Margaret Oliphant, and The Wind in the Rose-Bush by Mary Wilkins Freeman. All three stories were chilling and concise.

Overall, this is an excellent collection of classic ghost stories written in the Victorian era. One for lovers of the supernatural tale and also a perfect introduction to the genre.

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