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Madam Crowl's Ghost & Other Tales of Mystery

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  399 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Madam Crowl’s Ghost is a collection of twelve of the finest stories by Joseph Sheridan le Fanu, an acknowledged master of psychological suspense. The author’s pedigree in this genre is undoubted: his novella Carmella was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and he is regarded as the father of the Irish gothic style.

As consistently unsettling as they are rewarding, th
Paperback, 256 pages
Published February 1st 2006 by Nonsuch Publishing (first published 1923)
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Bill  Kerwin
This is a good posthumous anthology of ghost stories, chosen by no less an authority than M.R. James himself. They were selected primarily from Le Fanu's early "Dublin Magazine" period, when his stories--like those of many of the authors published there by editor Le Fanu--were characterized by a leisurely, folkloric narrative style and the often humorous exploitation of Irish stereotypes.

This anthology is slightly inferior to In a Glass Darkly, the collection of later stories Le Fanu published
Nancy Oakes
Apr 26, 2008 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, ghostly-tales
I've listed and summarized all of the stories in this book at my reading journal blog, in case you're interested in what you have to look forward in this book.

Perhaps these aren't the best ghost stories I've ever read, but Le Fanu is a master of atmosphere, which helps to produce the sense of dread or doom I look for when I read these sorts of tales. For the ghost-story aficionado, this collection is definitely one not to miss. While these stories aren't a complete set of terrifying tales by L
Randolph Carter
A posthumous collection of lesser and early work by arguably the first great ghost story writer. Still, half the contents are worth the price of admission with the eponymous story, Squire Toby's Will, Dickon the Devil, The Child that went with the Fairies, The White Cat of Drumgunniol, Aungier Street, Sir Dominick's Bargain being all worth the time before the fireplace with the lights down.
Mar 31, 2017 KostasAt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, gothic
Ghosts, or Phantasms as they called them then, were, certainly, one of the most known subject through the centuries in fiction stories; but it was in the 19th century, and through Sheridan Le Fanu’s stories - the “leader” as they called him - that inspired many writers later and made it even more popular.
Today, of course, with the fantastical genre having seen many changes these stories seem a bit old-fashioned, but we cannot say that they don’t have a particular atmosphere of that era.
This col
Apr 03, 2008 Dfordoom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror-gothic
I’ve been a great fan of Joseph Sheridan le Fanu since reading his classic 1872 vampire story Carmilla years ago. M. R. James was also an admirer and in 1923 edited an important collection of le Fanu’s ghost stories, Madam Crowl’s Ghost and other stories. I’m not sure why I enjoy Sheridan le Fanu’s ghost stories many than M. R. James’s. Perhaps it’s the Irish settings, or perhaps I just find his style a bit livelier. Otherwise they’re not dissimilar to James’s. The stories in Madam Crowl’s Ghost ...more
Oct 25, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ghost-story, 2011, review
Review from Badelynge
In judging the quality of this collection of ghost stories by Sheridan Le Fanu I think it's worth mentioning that this particular collection was compiled by M.R. James to bring together all of Le Fanu's anonymously published supernatural short stories. It's not a collection of his best work, far from it. Le Fanu's writings throw up all sorts of obstacles for the more ordered reader wishing to read all of his back catalogue. Many of these stories appeared uncredited in Le Fan
Grace Harwood
Aug 11, 2013 Grace Harwood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a combination of traditional Victorian ghost stories, folk tales about "the good people" (fairy tales) of Ireland, and legends concerning ne'er-do-wells, who have sold their souls to the devil. As a preference, I enjoyed the traditional Victorian tales best, but there is some really excellent writing in this collection of stories.

I particularly enjoyed the first two stories: the title story and "Squire Toby's Will", but my favourite, I think, had to be "An Account of Some Strange Disturb
2007 bookcrossing journal:

I really enjoyed this book. I love these regency and victorian gothic style ghost stories; the whole atmosphere that they create. And these were interesting as well for the location - so many set in Ireland. Some had a real folktale feel as well with the fairies coming into the stories, such as 'The Child that Went with the Fairies'. Oh, and a couple set in Yorkshire (I think) as well!

I liked the first story and the title piece - Madam Crowl's Ghost. What a character sh
Aug 15, 2011 Maja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Le Fanu has an exceptional talent to convey a certain mood to the reader, whether it is a sense of serene and melancholy enjoyment in the beautiful scenery of Ireland, or a horrific suspense coming from the preternatural occurrences described in his stories.
This collection of short stories doesn't only cause one a great deal of pleasure, but also immerses one into the culture, language and superstitions of the land that the writer comes from, and the fact that most of the places mentioned in th
Jun 22, 2015 Carmen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining, plus fascinating as a look into historical superstition.
Dec 17, 2010 Tonk82 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, propio
"El fantasma de la señora crowl" edición de Ediciones Abraxas. Viendo el listado de relatos, tiene varios en común con el editado por Valdemar llamado "Dickon el diablo y otros relatos extraordinarios" (los he marcado con un asterisco). Aunque comparten algunos relatos, el de Valdemar es una selección de relatos de fantasmas, mientras que "El fantasma de la señora Crowl" es la traducción al Español de una antología de relatos inéditos en su día, que M.R. James recopiló buscando entre periódicos ...more
This collection of ghostly and folkloric tales by Le Fanu is not a 'best-of' or even a selection of favourites by compiler M R James, it simply consists of stories that had remained uncollected at the time of the author's death. They represent a few of his last stories, including 'Madam Crowl's Ghost', and early works which had only previously been published in fairly obscure Irish journals. This makes the collection a mixed bag but one which I enjoyed more than I expected to. It's been sitting ...more
Mar 05, 2011 Bev rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first learned about Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu through Harriet Vane, the detective novelist love interest for Lord Peter Wimsey in Dorothy L Sayers' mystery stories. When Harriet returns to Oxford to help track down a poison pen in Gaudy Night, she uses research into Le Fanu's writings as a plausible cover for her return to college. Her interest sparked mine.

This collection of ghost stories, originally written in the mid- to late-1800s is a bit verbose and slightly dated and the work is a bit une
Jul 08, 2011 Clint rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I was really disappointed by this book. It's not that it's dated, I like a lot of other spooky stuff from around the same time, it was just... lame. I almost gave it one star. It was collected and introduced by M.R. James, who really likes it, obviously, but nothing in this book comes close to anything by James. One odd thing about this book was that James says he put the stories in order from best to worst, but I thought they got better as they went along. Which doesn't say much, considering ho ...more
There are pure horror stories and then there are ghostly supernatural tales, of which Le Fanu was a specialist. These are the tales which make me sing and whistle as I walk deserted streets alone at night, for I was once told that spirits will stay away if one keeps a steady tune. These are the tales requiring a flashlight at night, because one is hiding beneath the covers in case a ghostly apparition makes an appearance.

The Child That Went With The Fairies and Dickon The Devil had me jumpy, an
Feb 13, 2015 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read somewhere that the craft and power of telling ghost stories died out with the advent of electric light. The theory was that creepy tales were the most thrilling when read in flickering candlelight (or gas lighting) when you could never be certain as to what was lurking in the shadows. Perhaps this why the last stronghold of ghost stories today are around the campfire. Anyway, these stories were written in the 1800s and in my opinion are as authentically eerie as you can get. Le Fanu was a ...more
While I'm a fan of late 19th century ghost stories and gothic fiction in general and I quite liked Le Fanu's In a Glass Darkly , this collection somehow left me cold. I guess it was because most of the stories feel rather quaint and folklike, almost as if they're taken right out of an almanac of folklore
Robert Hepple
Aug 15, 2015 Robert Hepple rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of 12 supernatural short stories first published as a collection in 1923, but originally published over the period 1851-1872. As such, they represent a great selection of Sheridan Le Fanu’s style over that period. Many of the stories are set around the area of Limerick in Ireland, and the use of folklore gives them a really effective atmosphere, uniquely different from the 19th century gothic supernatural stories of the time. Brilliant.
Gary Crawford
May 30, 2009 Gary Crawford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm looking into this book of short stories attributed to Sheridan Le Fanu and edited by M.R. James. The story "My Aunt Margaret's Adventure" was attributed to Le Fany in this book. The tale was originally published anonymously in "The Dublin University Magazine" with which Le Fanu was long associated.
Oct 27, 2015 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Some uncollected, forgotten stories gathered together by M R James some time after Le Fanu's death. A mix of ghosts with unfinished business and Irish folk tales-such as the sad The Child that went with the Fairies, and the omen of death The White Cat of Drumgunniol . In A Glass Darkly is a better collection.
Cat Tobin
I struggled to get through this, as I felt the writing was thick and sluggish, and it hasn't dated as well as the writing of some of Le Fanu's contemporaries. I loved the Irish dialogue, and regional accents, which were elegantly expressed.
Le Fanu <3

I've read "Madam Crowl's Ghost" in another language, when I was about 6-7 years old. It was so scary, so powerful, I've remembered it all those years without even knowing the author's name. Now I found it again. Wow.
Nov 10, 2009 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A selection of the Master's best supernatural tales. In Stephen King style but a century earlier, Madame Crowl seems like the sweet old lady next door until she starts hovering outside upstairs windows late at night.
Sep 24, 2010 Bear rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is something lyrical about the way this Irishman writes, which a always enjoy. The detail and the settings make the stories seem all the more timeless.
Very very dry. Some of the stories were okay but none really stood out for me. They were pretty well written though and I'm curious to check out some of his other stories.
Avradeep Sinha
Dec 25, 2014 Avradeep Sinha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-have-now
A very good anthology of classic horror stories from the stables of Le Fanu. Some of the tales were outright spooky and thrilling to read.
Carma Spence
This was a good introduction to the works of Le Fanu.
Oct 17, 2014 Sonya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it, but I didn't love it--if you're interested in the author, I'd recommend Carmilla.
Introduction, by M. R. James

--Madam Crowl's Ghost
--Squire Toby's Will
--Dickon the Devil
--The Child that went with the Fairies
--The White Cat of Drumgunniol
--An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street
--Ghost Stories of Chapelizod
--Wicked Captain Walshawe, of Wauling
--Sir Dominick's Bargain
--Ultor de Lacy
--The Vision of Tom Chuff
--Stories of Lough Guir
Michael rated it it was ok
Apr 09, 2010
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Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu (28 August 1814 – 7 February 1873) was an Irish writer of Gothic tales and mystery novels. He was the leading ghost-story writer of the nineteenth century and was central to the development of the genre in the Victorian era. M.R. James described Le Fanu as "absolutely in the first rank as a writer of ghost stories". Three of his best-known works are Uncle Silas, Carm ...more
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