The Stalls of Barchester / The Ash Tree / Number 13 / A Warning to the Curious

Ghost Stories
Narrated by: Christopher Lee
Length: 1 hr and 57 mins
4.8 out of 5 stars (58 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Horror legend Christopher Lee reads the disturbing Victorian ghost stories of writer M.R. James. A century ago, it was James's habit to read one aloud by candlelight every Christmas Eve to a select group of students in his study at King's College, Cambridge.

©2019 Lübbe Audio (P)2019 Lübbe Audio

What listeners say about The Stalls of Barchester / The Ash Tree / Number 13 / A Warning to the Curious

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Outstanding narration but strange editing of text

I really enjoyed the performance by Christopher Lee. Enough to cause me to order the DVDs of his performances for BBC. Be aware that the text it edited. Not just for brevity, but the text itself was changed in unnecessary, bizarre ways. The stories were shortened, probably to keep them to 30 minutes each, so some small sections were removed. But the bizarre part is that text was altered sometimes significantly usually without any need or advantage. It was still a very enjoyable reading, thanks to the wonderful work by Mr. Lee. Some examples of changes: From The Ash-tree: "Such a nest of catarrhs and agues was never seen" became "The tree is a nest of catarrhs and fevers". Ok, but if the listener doesn't understand "agues", they probably don't understand "catarrhs" either. "Yet even they were daunted, though it was only at the cry of a cat" was edited to "Even though they felt some menace though it was only the cry of a cat they heard" "examined it to be undoubtedly the body of a woman, and clearly dead for a period of fifty years" was changed to "Examination proved it to be the body of a woman. She'd been dead for the last fifty years." The "last" fifty years? Geesh. From Number 13, they offer a completely different ending: "And to this day, consult all the learned experts you will, no one has understood or even deciphered a single line of this enigma." A Warning to the Curious: "Paxton was so totally without connections that all the inquiries that were subsequently made ended in a No Thoroughfare." was changed to "Nothing more could be discovered about Paxton, and so the legal business reached, so to speak, a dead end." A "dead end"? Maybe they could have inserted "a sticky wicket" in there too? Ugh.

3 people found this helpful

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The Late Sir Christopher Lee Reminds Us

What it is like to listen to a great story told by a great storyteller. M. R,. James could write Ghost Stories the way Lord Dunsany could write Fantasy. Both could take words and fashion them into stories that are glittering gems of prose. And these are four of James' Best. And Sir Christopher is the best narrator they could have gotten. Once his voice starts in you KNOW you're in for a blood chillingly ghoulishly good time.

3 people found this helpful

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Loved it!!

Very good book. Love that Christopher Lee read it. I'm a advent reader of ghost stories and thought it would be cool to listen to the book while I worked. Wasn't disappointed.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Great reading of very good stories, but...

There’s no real problem with the core of this audiobook. Sir Christopher Lee reading classic ghost stories. What more do you want? However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention, which no other reviews I can see here have, the very odd and awkward chapter breaks and structure of this production. The mood-setting pre-amble is nice, but it’s really not necessary to hear it before every story, especially when listening to the entire recording. Second, the chapter breaks seem to be at random and very awkwardly stop and re-start the flow of the stories. I will still recommend this if the concept sounds appealing to you, as it does deliver on the feel of Sir Lee reading these stories to you by candlelight, but I think people should be aware of the very peculiar structure going in, as it kind of threw me for a loop.

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderful narration of classic ghost stories!

Absolutely beautiful narration! Sir Christopher Lee is was a gem and is so very missed...

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • AM
  • 11-23-19

I absolutely adore Sir Christopher Lee!

I am so glad that this wonderful man's voice will never be silenced. He's left behind a wonderful body of work to thoroughly enjoy. This rendition of him reading this book is exquisite and I highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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wonderful

how was the narrator? he was marvelous! to have a man I dearly wished I could have met reading to me as if I was a friend was a wonderful experience.

1 person found this helpful

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These are ABRIDGED!!!

It says in the description that they are unabridged, but this is incorrect. I am a big fan of "The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral" and I noticed right away that parts were missing. I was completely shocked. Why on earth would anyone want to abridge M. R. James? The whole point is his gloriously atmospheric writing, what is the point if you're going to change that???? I was sort of shocked that Lee would be party to such a thing. His performance is great, but I only give it four stars because I feel that Derek Jacobi has an even better performance in his readings of James, and they are actually James, not a hacking about of James. I don't know if I will return these or not. I mean, it is Lee reading James, which is fun, but it's ABRIDGED. GAH.

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Narrator

The narrator made this incredible. I don’t get easily creeped but wow this did it. I’ve heard these M.R. James stories before and they we’re good but not as eerie as this. I wish audible had the option like Netflix for More Like This.

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  • Tobasca
  • 08-20-19

Poorly Executed by Audible

The stories themselves are excellent . The BBC adaptations these are taken from including the legendary Christopher Lee are also excellent. However, this Audible production has broken the four tapes into many minor chapters, and has provided no titles for these chapters to ease navigation. Furthermore, the pauses between these chapters are unduly long. Lastly, the introduction at the beginning appears to be in German, and the female voiceover announcing the various stories is very jarring and doesn’t sit well with the rest of the recording.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Lizzie CL
  • 11-16-19

Great Tales spoiled by poor production.

Christopher Lee telling the classic Ghost Stories of M R James is atmospheric. It's spoiled by poor production and the constant mini breaks in recording. The repetition of the introduction sequence with the annoying sounds of something being pouring into a glass is very off putting. However the counter tenor with the Like Wake Dirge is acceptable.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Geoff Nicholson
  • 12-03-19

Why the gaps?

Awesome narration from the best in the business. But why, Audible, did you chop it up into such short sections with pointless gaps in between??

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs Caroline Graham
  • 12-02-19

EXCELLENT!!

Wonderful stories. loved hearing the pages turn, fire crackling!! Ideal combinatiom read by a master.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Daddio C.
  • 06-11-19

The Prince of Darkness rises once more...

This is a recording of the BBC's ghost stories for Christmas tv dramas, which was made back in the 90s. It's a good recording and works fine as an audiobook. There is the odd pause where there was a bit of filmed drama in the tv version, however,it doesn't stick out too much. Good stuff.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Catherine Mack
  • 04-15-20

Atmospheric and haunting. 👍 Christopher Lee

Absolutely loved this. A real treat for MR James fans, read by the master Mr Lee.