Ghost Stories, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


This title is selected and introduced by Ruth Rendell.

M.R. James wrote his ghost stories to entertain friends on Christmas Eve, and they went on to both transform and modernise a genre.

James harnesses the power of suggestion to move from a recognisable world to one that is indefinably strange, and then unforgettably terrifying.

Sheets, pictures, carvings, a dolls house, a lonely beach, a branch tapping on a window - ordinary things take on more than a tinge of dread in the hands of the original master of suspense.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780099560562



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"It was a horrid, grotesque shape -- perhaps more like a toad than anything else, and there was a label by it inscribed with the two words, 'Despositum custodi." Maybe not exactly the type of ghost story you'd read around a campfire, holding a flashlight under your face, but really ideal for stormy autumn night. My one recommendation is to space them out. I read a few back-to-back over the course of a night, and they sort of blended together. They were still enjoyable, but to get the most out of them, it helps to perhaps read one story a night. My personal favorites were Casting the Runes, The Tractate Middoth (which reminded me a bit of a creepier, less zany version of The Golden Child), The Ashtree, and Mr Humphreys and His Inheritance. The stories generally feature some poor luckless soul who accidentally and innocently unlocks a horrible, centuries old curse. M.R. Rhodes was a Cambridge academic and it is fully apparent -- the stories feature scholars, dusty old libraries, antique books and ancient texts, and incorporate archaeology, theology, and mythology. I had to look up several bits of untranslated Latin. I hope that isn't a deterrent. The stories are easy to read, but take for granted that the reader is intelligent and literate, or (like me) has access to google.