Cecily Gayford (ed) - Tales from the Dead of Night (3 stars)

Cecily Gayford (ed) - Tales from the Dead of Night

A familiar, well-selected collection of ghost stories from the likes of MR James and Ruth Rendell


With Hallowe'en approaching, it's the perfect time to curl up with a good old-fashioned ghost story: and they don't get better or more old-fashioned than these. Classic tales from MR James, Edith Wharton and Rudyard Kipling mix with more modern pieces from Ruth Rendell and AJ Kidd.

The tales can feel a little repetitive, with plenty of spooky houses and wronged dead seeking vengeance, but even when the reader has figured out the ending on the first page, the merging of nostalgia and the uncanny is appealing.

There's really nothing new here, as the majority of authors are now decades-deceased, and connoisseurs will already be familiar with most of the stories. But there's a lot to be said for good editing, with Gayford's selection and ordering both well considered. It's a good choice for sharing with the family too, as although there are plenty of spooky happenings, the shivers are subtle rather than graphic or violent. When it's cold and dark outside and you're in the mood for some mild spookery, this is just the thing.

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