Title: Tales from the Dead of Night: Thirteen Classic Ghost Stories
Collected by: Cecily Gayford
Published: November 2018
Publisher: Profile Books
RRP: $19.99 AUD
I received a copy of Tales from the Dead of Night from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Classic ghost stories from the world’s best authors: settle down by the fireside, tuck yourself up in bed – just try not to think about what’s lurking just out of sight.
From rural England to colonial India, in murky haunted mansions and under modern electric lighting, these master storytellers – some of the best writers in the English language – unfold spinetinglers which pull back the veil of everyday life to reveal the nightmares which lurk just out of sight. They are lessons in ingenuity and surprise, sometimes building slowly to a chilling climax, sometimes springing horror on you from the utterly banal. And as you’d expect from these writers, the stories are more than simply frightening – they’re also disquieting exposures of mortality, loneliness and the human capacity for both evil and remorse.
We wish you pleasant dreams.
Contains ghost 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.
Tales from the Dead of Night was sent to me unsolicited – so it was a complete surprise to receive it. I’m not normally someone who reads ghost stories (I have a hugely overactive imagination which means I probably wouldn’t sleep at night if I read anything too scary), but since I received it I thought it only fair I give it a shot.
And I was pleasantly surprised.
With the exception of one story, everything was creepy without being terrifying (by my standards) and so this was a unique experience for me to step outside my comfort zone and try something new. The collect is filled with a lot of well-respected authors who I’ve heard of but not read, as well as other author’s who were completely new to me.
The stories include:
The Shadow (E. Nesbit)
The Clock (W.F. Harvey)
Pirates (E.F. Benson)
The Crown Derby Plate (Marjorie Bowen)
The Tarn (Hugh Walpole)
The Haunting of Shawley Rectory (Ruth Rendell)
The Cotillion (L.P. Hartley)
The Haunted Doll’s House (M.R. James)
Pomegranate Seed (Edith Wharton)
The Phantom Rickshaw (Rudyard Kipling)
The Toll-House (W.W. Jacobs)
The Black Veil (A.F. Kidd)
The Hedgehog (Saki)
For the most part, the stories are written in a very ‘literature’ style, and most felt almost as if they were set in the past rather than the present day, with a slightly other-worldly feel to them. Being short stories, they get to the point relatively quickly, the intensity building in each until the final reveal or climax that could give you shivers, if you’re so inclined.
I enjoyed the majority of the stories, but some of my favourites included The Clock, which gave some creepy empty house feels; The Haunting of Shawley Rectory which dealt with murder and consequences; The Cotillion, which begins with a masquerade and ends in a haunting; The Haunted Doll’s House… I mean, come on, just the title is creepy!. The Black Veil was probably the creepiest read for me personally, because it had more of a haunted-possession thread which was very disconcerting and the one that stands out most vividly in my mind post-reading.
If you’re someone who enjoys a spooky read, or just looking to branch into the genre, then this collection might be for you.