Ghost Stories, Volume One

Narrated by: Derek Jacobi
Length: 2 hrs and 37 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (260 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Sir Derek Jacobi reads a collection of tales from the master of ghost stories, M. R. James, whose stories have for many years inspired the BBC's A Ghost Story for Christmas TV adaptations. M. R. James was described as "a man who, in company with Sheridan le Fanu, is the best ghost-story writer England has ever produced".
Public Domain (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Ghost Stories, Volume One

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible Narration for M.R. James Classics!

I have found my new favourite narrator, Derek Jacobi! He's incredible at narrating these classic ghost stories by M.R. James - the way he acts out the conversations between characters is amazing! Here is a listing of the stories read:

A View From a Hill
Rats
A School Story
The Ash Tree
The Story of a Disappearance and an Appearance

If you're a fan of M.R. James or classic ghost stories, do not pass this one up! Get it now!

36 people found this helpful

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An (Almost) Excellent Introduction.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This book, and volume two, are very good for the newcomer to M.R. James's work. The only downside to this anthology is perhaps the fact some of his best stories are not included. I would have loved to have heard Jacobi's take on "Casting The Runes".

12 people found this helpful

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Simply superb. Fit for a stage.

Derek Jacobi brings the dialects and idioms of M.R. James' writing to life beautifully. The turns of phrase are notably archaic, and might otherwise be lost on modern readers how some characters are ironically pendantic or very 'working class.' I hope he will be hired on to read more turn of the century works.

4 people found this helpful

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Cute, good, fun, definitely recommend!

What did you love best about Ghost Stories, Volume One?

The narrator! Some of the stories weren't necessarily that scary but the narrator made everything feel spooky! It was great! definitely

What did you like best about this story?

I loved the story of the "special binoculars" very spooky and with such cute characters!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Strange and wonderful paths of darker worlds that you can't help relish meandering through.

Any additional comments?

I thought this was a short, fun little collection of short stories. I will be purchasing more volumes for more fun spooky nights.

4 people found this helpful

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Wonderful version of M.R.James best..

I've been a huge fan of M. R. James since I was a teen, and Derek Jacobi is a treat with these stories...
perfectly written to elicit shivers and questions... but the narration is peerless.
Listen to these on a hot, sunny day and you won't feel the heat.
Be careful if you prefer to listen while alone at night...

2 people found this helpful

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Perfection

What made the experience of listening to Ghost Stories, Volume One the most enjoyable?

M.R. James and Derek Jacobi. That's it. Perfection.Five out of five straight across the board.

2 people found this helpful

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Spooky

one word... spooky. I loved the accented dialing and voices. great stories even after all this time. loved it and them.

1 person found this helpful

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Jacobi is good, but....

I didn't really find these stories by M.R. James to be all that scary or memorable, compared with say H.P. Lovecraft. Not sure how I'd feel about other stories by him, but Jacobi makes a good narrator

1 person found this helpful

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delicious ghost stories

classics -- beautifully stimulating our own imagination -- generous creations originally written for friends and stiudents. Derek Jacobi reads I exactly the right spirit, as you would expect of this master. A pleasure all round!

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Shivery stories, excellent narration

Wonderfully shivery ghost tales, perfectly read by Sir Derek Jacobi. Good for a stormy night in October!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Alice
  • 11-03-17

Stories Included

1) A view from a hill.
2) Rats.
3) A school story.
4) The Ash tree.
5) The story of a disappearance and an appearance.

91 people found this helpful

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  • Stephen
  • 01-09-11

Unsettling

I lay in bed over Christmas listening to these before I went to sleep. I had no idea how strange and disturbing these stories are, particularly the first few. In fact I find it difficult to describe them as ghost stories. Superbly read by Derek Jacobi,these are simply unlike anything I have ever heard or read.

16 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Thomasina
  • 12-18-09

MrsMac

I downloaded this last night, as the television was terrible (when isn't it?) and rather than watch something just for the sake of it, I thought I'd give it a go, who doesn't love a ghost story at Christmas. I've absolutely loved M R James since I was a teenager; Derek Jacobi's narration is superb(I could listen to him reading a telephone directory). The beauty of James is that it leaves so much to the imagination, nothing is ever explicit -something which Hollywood could take note of. Don't expect to be scared out of your wits, James is more subtle in his approach, unnerving and unsettling. So turn the television off this Christmas, turn the lights down and listen. You won't be disappointed.

38 people found this helpful

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  • Serrai Arriannai
  • 06-20-15

Mr M R James- superb in his creepy tales of the supernatural ...

If you are looking for the best tales of terror, without the overdone and predictable modern computer enhanced, unlikely and obviously unreal, and therefore un-scary rubbish, that it is just another failing copy of past masters of the traditional ghost stories, then you cannot fail with this audible purchase. The Narrator is perfect for this collection of M R James's tales. With this in mind, a great choice of bedtime ghost stories!...

7 people found this helpful

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  • Matt
  • 04-14-15

Some average stories but brilliant reading

I felt it was not the best collection of MR James stories, athough A View From A Hill is a favourite of mine. Derek Jacobi gives a masterclass in acting that makes up for any weaker entries in this collection. Overall I was very pleased with this and it stays on my phone for long car journeys.

9 people found this helpful

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  • FictionFan
  • 12-23-19

Five spooky tales...

This shortish audiobook (2 hours 37 minutes) contains five ghost stories from the pen of MR James, narrated by the always wonderful Derek Jacobi. I do admire James’ writing style and usually find his stories enjoyable even although I rarely find them scary. I think it’s because he often tells them at a remove – a narrator tells us of something that once happened rather than us being put there while it’s actually happening, which prevents them from building any kind of atmosphere of tension. Quite often, in fact, we are told the end before we’re given the story. I’ve still read relatively few of his stories, though, so maybe I just haven’t come across the really spooky ones yet. Since there are only five stories in this volume, here’s a brief idea of each:

The View from the Hill – an antiquary, Mr Fanshawe, visits his friend Squire Richards in the country. Fanshawe borrows a set of binoculars from his friend, but when he looks through them, he sees things that aren’t there, such as church spires that once existed but are long gone. Richards acquired the binoculars when he bought up some of the possessions of a man named Baxter after his death. It culminates with Richards’ old servant telling the two friends the story of Baxter and the experiments he carried out. It’s well told, but knowing in advance that Baxter died kinda spoils the tension, and nothing terribly bad happens in the present. I gave this one four stars.

Rats – A story that, oddly, isn’t about rats. A man is staying as the only guest at an inn. Out of nosiness, one day when the landlord is out, he decides to take a look into the other empty rooms on his floor. One is locked, but he finds a key that will open it. Inside, he sees something that scares him and swiftly retreats. But his curiosity is too strong – on his last day, he goes to the room again, and this time he sees... well, of course I’m not going to tell you! This one is lighter in tone and quite fun, but again not scary. Another 4 star read.

A School Story – two men are discussing the tradition of ghost story telling in public (i.e. posh) schools, and then one tells the other a real ghost story which happened when he was a schoolboy. The haunting concerns a teacher, Mr Sampson, who begins to receive odd messages in Latin, either via the boys or in notes. The messages seem to imply that if he won’t go to the sender, then the sender will come to him. And then one day the teacher disappears... Again, well told, but there is our narrator, safe and sound and old, so we know whatever happened he clearly wasn’t harmed by it. Four stars again.

The Ash Tree – ah, this was much spookier! Starting back in the late 17th century, Mrs Mothersole is condemned as a witch and swears revenge on the man who gave evidence against her, Sir Matthew Fell. He later dies mysteriously, as if from some kind of poison. For years, the room in which he died lies empty out of superstition. But now his grandson decides to sleep in the room, even although the window is shaded by an ash tree growing just outside, and despite being warned that folklore says that sleeping near an ash tree is unwise... I think the reason this works better is because it’s told in the third person and therefore there’s no foreknowledge as to what happens to the grandson. There’s also lots of nicely scary imagery and old superstitions and stuff. This one got the full five stars!

The Story of a Disappearance and an Appearance – Told as a series of letters from a man to his brother and set at Christmastime. The letter-writer’s uncle, a rector, has disappeared and our narrator has gone to his uncle’s town to try to find out what has happened to him. I must say that I really had no idea what was going on in this one. It’s full of really quite effective stuff about a Punch and Judy show – a form of entertainment I’ve always found quite scary in itself – but if there’s a coherent story in there, I missed it. This is possibly because I was listening rather than reading – sometimes I don’t seem to concentrate as well in that format. I thought the imagery was great and there was a definite sense of dread and oddness about the whole thing, but I found it too unexplained to be satisfying. Jacobi’s performance was great though – he really shines best when the stories get darker. 5 stars for him, but just 2½ for the story, though I may read a print version one day.

Overall, this is an enjoyable listen – not harrowing, and the inclusion of what is apparently James’ only story set at Christmastime makes it perfect for this time of year. The shortest story is about 15 minutes and the longest around 45, so it can be easily split over several short sessions or binge-listened in one evening. MR James is undoubtedly the ideal choice for people who like their horror to be of the mildest variety, and Jacobi as narrator is always a treat. Recommended.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Serendipity
  • 02-01-19

a superb supernatural ensemble.

I adore Montgomery Rhodes James's Ghost stories. there's always just the right amount of creepiness & chill in the words & performed by Derek Jacobi just adds to the eerie & terrifying delight.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mrs Caroline Graham
  • 04-01-18

TWISTS AND TURNS

So well written, and narrated, that I was IN the stories!! Narrator breathed life into each character!! Good olde world's ghost stories, atmospheric!!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mitesh
  • 07-19-20

not scary at all. did not bother finishing this.

i listened to the first story... bored
second story.. still bored
I have given up as not enjoying this at all.

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  • mr s j lelonek
  • 06-27-20

excellent Reading by David Jacobi

the stories with God and well read the only downside it's a little bit short