Gayford has edited a book of thirteen spooky stories by Ruth Rendell, M R James, Rudyard Kipling, Edith Wharton, E F Benson, E Nesbit, Saki, W W Jacobs, W F Harvey, Hugh Walpole, Chico Kidd and LP Hartley.
These ghost stories are subtle and allow your mind to dwell on the paranormal aspects which slowly creep up on you. They are not scary by today’s standards but rather a collection of mildly spooky, well-written tales.
A surprising thread throughout this selection is the strong female characters portrayed in stories written in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.
The stories selected for this compilation are The Haunted Dolls House, The Clock, The Toll House, The Black Veil, The Tarn, Pirates, The Hedgehog, The Phantom Rickshaw, Cotillion, Pomegranate Seed, The Crown Derby Plate, The Haunting of Shawley Rectory and The Shadow. All stories are reasonably sized short stories and can be read while having a drink with friends around a camp fire.
I felt the scariest of these was The Black Veil, one of the mid-range length tales but one that plays on the mind for some time after reading it. The Clock gave only a vague hint of the potential danger that could have been unleashed and is, for me, the most disquieting of the selection.
Easy to read, with a small introduction to the original author before each story, the book is a nice addition to your ghost story collection.
Reviewed by Leanne Caune
Rating out of 10: 7
Distributed by: Allen & Unwin
Released: November 2018