Sixteen classic stories from masters of the genre: "The Judge's House", by Bram Stoker; "A Jug of Sirup", by Ambrose Bierce; "The Reconciliation", by Lafcadio Hearn; "The Woman With a Candle" by W. Bourne Cooke; "The Ebony Frame", by E. Nesbit; "On the Northern Ice", by Elia W. Peattie; "The Haunted Doll's House", by M. R. James; "The Old House in Vauxhall Walk", by Charlotte Riddell; "The Underground Ghost", by John Berwick Harwood; "Haunted", by Anon (from Tinsley's Annual); "The Last of Squire Ennismore" by J. H. Riddell; "The Story of the Green House, Wallington", by Allen Upward; "The Vacant Lot", by M. E. Wilkins Freeman; "The Real and the Counterfeit", by Louisa Baldwin; "The Haunted Mill", by Jerome K. Jerome; and "The Chippendale Mirror", by E. F. Benson. Read by Hayward Morse, Liza Ross, Garrick Hagon, Nigel Lambert, Paul Panting, and Sean Barrett.
©2012 The Story Circle (P)2014 The Story Circle Ltd
I was surprised with this audiobook - it has a good variety of stories, some of which I haven't "read" before! I was worried about the narration, as there are quite a few voice actors reading the stories, but I was very impressed with the quality! Great narration on all of the stories. The ones that really stood out for me were "The Judge's House", "The Haunted Doll's House", "The Story of the Green House, Wallington" and "The Chippendale Mirror". Some of the stories I didn't care for, but most were hits so I consider it a good purchase. Oh, and no "The Signalman"!!!! WOO! :-)
Painter, musician, bibliophile...
The performances make these old tales worth hearing again. Paul Panting, Garrick Hagon, Hayward Morse, and Sean Barrett are always first-rate narrators. (Barrett in particular is the best-ever narrator of Irish fiction, especially le Fanu ghost stories).
See if these sound like you'd enjoy reading them, too:
THE JUDGE'S HOUSE is about a maths student seeking solitude in an old house, where he hopes to study for his exams. Sadly, the place isn't exactly conducive to his plans.
A JUG OF SIROP is Bierce's tale of a man who really loves his work, even beyond death.
A RECONCILIATION is set in Japan. A man regrets leaving what we'd now call a "starter wife," the woman he traded in for higher status and success. He sets out to find her again, but things do not go as he imagines.
In the autumn of 1900, an amateur antiquarian stays in a forested country area where he discovers an old sexton inclined to chat about the old days. When the sexton talks about "an old and ghastly woman that walks the house at midnight," the visitor laughs about THE WOMAN WITH THE CANDLE.
Paranormal romance is nothing new, kids. THE EBONY FRAME is an old school example. A young man who fancies himself finds his great expectations met admirably when he inherits a property from his aunt. He regrets pledging himself to his fiancee, his "good little woman," and considers he might do better. While going through the stock of antiques and bric-a-brac in the attic, he finds evidence that there is a far more bewitching prospect at hand. Paranormal romance, drama, and a touch of reincarnation with a dash of bargaining with the devil.
ON THE NORTHERN ICE is an all-too-innocent tale of love, friendship, and loyalty. When a young many sets out to travel to Echo Bay on ice skates, he has an unusual experience...
THE HAUNTED DOLL'S HOUSE is a small James masterwork about an antique collector who gets more than he bargained for when he takes home a Strawberry Hill Gothick doll's house, "the very quintessence of Horace Walpole."
Following a fight with his father, a young man is filled with self-pity and anger as he wanders about in the rain. When he runs into an old family retainer, he goes with him and spends the night alone in THE OLD HOUSE IN VAUXHALL WALK.
THE UNDERGROUND GHOST appears in a Cheshire salt mine. When a young "rising junior at the bar" visits his uncle's mine which he might inherit someday, he becomes lost and encounters a helpful young lady.
A statesman on the way to convention is hindered by bad weather and forced to take lodging in a rather downmarket place. When he settles into his room, a ghost appears who demands vengeance. But can the ghost actually get a politician to do something in HAUNTED?
THE LAST OF SQUIRE ENNISMORE is a masterful performance for Barrett. The old squire was so evil he could scarcely have become worse when he returns to the house near the sea. Following a shipwreck, he takes to drinking with a stranger he believes was left behind...but with whom has he really been spending his evenings?
A spiky Mr. Giltstrap wants an estate agent to sell an unwanted property, THE GREEN HOUSE AT WALLINGFORD. The agent buys the property at a loss, paying no attention to the strange gossip which attends the house. He takes his secretary, with her mum as chaperone, and finds out more than he ever wanted to know about the place.
THE VACANT LOT is a rather dull story about a family's move to a haunted area.
THE REAL AND THE COUNTERFEIT is a story by now so familiar through its continual reappearance in telly since the 1950's that it's hard to consider it might have been original once. In it, Will Musgrave and his pals take a practical joke involving a ghost just a bit too far.
Jerome tells about a miserly miller who supposedly left a fortune in gold in THE HAUNTED MILL. Of course, this being JKJ, absurd comedy ensues.
THE CHIPPENDALE MIRROR is classic Benson at his best. When a newly well-to-do young man brings an antique mirror into his new Adam-style residence, he doesn't realize it will plunge him into the heart of an unsolved murder case.
These stories were more fun than seriously creepy. They were probably pretty creepy in their time, though. The characters and situations are all pretty stock by present day standards.
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