Genre: Short Stories, Horror
Date Read: 11th November 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Fourteen masterpieces of fear chosen by a great master of the unexpected. A staple of horror literature that has bewitched readers of all ages . “It is a singular fact ,” observed Roald Dahl , “but , in the best ghost stories, the ghost there . Or, at least , you do not see . But we see the result of his actions . Every so often you can hear a noise behind you , or fleeting glimpse traces of his presence … ” And indeed elusive and unpredictable are the ghosts outlined by the authors of the fourteen stories chosen and assembled here by Dahl with master hand.
I picked this up around Halloween time wanting some scary reads to get me in the mood. When I saw they were by Roald Dahl himself, I thought I was in for a treat. I was sadly disappointed, reading the introduction I found that this was not the case, however I continued on as I thought it would be interesting to read some different authors.
The book consisted of 14 short stories, some longer than others and some quiet spooky whilst the others were just a bit dark.
Here is a list of the stories in the book:
- W.S by L.P.Hartley
- Harry by Rosemary Timperley
- The Corner shop by Cynthia Asquith
- In the Tube by E.F.Benson
- Christmas meeting by Rosemary Timperley
- Elias and the Draug by Jonas Lie
- Playmates by A.M. Burrage
- Ringing the changes by Robert Aickman
- The Telephone by Mary Treadgold
- The Ghost of a Hand by J.Sheridan Le Fanu
- The Sweeper by A.M Burrage
- On the Brighton Road by Richard Middleton
- Afterward by Edith Warton
- The Upper Berth by Marion Crawford
The scariest one for me was the Ghost of a hand, that could be because I was reading it at 1am in the morning with everyone asleep, the sounds of the house creaking and the wind outside added to the spookiness.
My top three are The Ghost of a Hand, Harry and Ringing the Changes,however they weren’t great. I felt really let down by this selection of short stories, they didn’t seem to have very satisfying ends and they were somewhat predictable.
Also there is an introduction from Roald Dahl himself stating that he read over 700 short stories trying to find the best, I seriously can’t believe these were the best ones he found and then he was rambling on about women being better at writing ghost stories and men being better at general fiction which I felt was irrelevant but I suppose he had a certain amount of words to fulfil.
Maybe I am being a little harsh, seeing as the book is 30 years old and the stories are even older than that.
Let me know if you have read this book, and what you thought.
Overall I gave this 3 out of 5 stars