by Various Authors
Publication Date: January 1, 2005
Publisher: Folio Society
The 20 tales gathered together here range from the familiar - Charles Dickens, Walter de la Mare and MR James - to stories even the most ardent fan probably won't have come across before.
Howling winds and winter snows, rambling old houses and isolated inns, characters whose apparently ordinary lives hide guilty secrets and murky pasts, even a sinister Punch and Judy show - all the classic ingredients are here. Wonderful, spooky, full-colour illustrations by Peter Stuart add the finishing touch.
I started reading a few stories from a new (to me) anthology, Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories, and became frustrated by the lack of ghosts in the stories I chose, which prompted me to pull this down off my shelves, to re-read a few stories. All I can say is that should you ever run across this in a used bookstore – and you enjoy a good ghost story – you cannot go wrong splashing out on it. The ghost stories are good and the book is just gorgeous, with full color illustrations throughout.
I re-read three stories for this Christmas season:
Afterward by Edith Wharton: I’m not actually sure why this story is included; it must take place during Christmas, but the holiday is not even a bit player in drama. But it is a great ghost story; the subtle kind that creeps up on both the characters and the reader, so that it isn’t until Afterward that you know you’ve been haunted at all.
When Satan Goes Home for Christmas by Robertson Davies: Not quite a ghost story but come on, it’s Satan. And it’s a funny and oddly touching story in the most unexpected ways.
The Shop of Ghosts by G.K. Chesterton: This is a short one that starts off rather heartbreakingly, but ends not only with hope, but left me chuckling as well. A masterful reminder that there truly is nothing new under the sun.
There are so many others I’d like to re-read this season, and I might, but with my to-do list being as long as anyone else’s this time of year, I’m calling it read and again recommend this for anyone who would enjoy an excellent collection of ghostly holiday cheer.