The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson
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The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  344 ratings  ·  22 reviews
This collection brings together all of E. F. Benson's masterfully frightening literary ghost stories.
Paperback, 672 pages
Published December 18th 2001 by Carroll & Graf (first published November 1992)
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Nancy Oakes
The blurb on the back of my copy of this book states that this edition is "one book that no fan of Benson or of good storytelling can afford to miss." Since this is a book of ghost stories, I'll add that this volume is a definite no-miss if you are a fan of the well-told, classic ghostly tale. At 672 pages, this book became my leisurely go-to, late-night, under-the-covers read to be enjoyed once the house was quiet rather than a one-sitting kind of thing, and thinking back on it, I see a great d...more
Bill  Kerwin

E.F. Benson, one of the most accomplished practitioners of the classic English ghost story, usually begins his tale in a tranquil upper class British setting--perhaps a country house party or a fishing lodge or a newly acquired apartment--in which the horror gradually unfolds. His stories are invariably well-written, but there are two drawbacks to his work. First of all, he often sets his stories in a milieu where people openly proclaim their belief in ghosts and their own psychic abilities, eng...more
Not all of Benson's ghost stories hit the mark, but the ones that do -- well, they'll literally haunt you. My favorite stories in this anthology, though, are wistful and gentle tales, such as "How Fear Departed from the Long Gallery" and "Pirates." I read my favorites from from time to time, and they only seem to improve with each reading. Benson is best known for his comic masterpieces such as the Lucia series, but he's equally adept at the classic ghost tale. His ability to evoke atmosphere is...more
Benson is uneven - some of this themes seem to crop up again and again - but at his best he is a superb writer of ghost stories, and this book is a bargain! If you cannot afford the five volume set from Ash-Tree including quite a few stories that never made their way into the canonical collections, do not hesitate to buy this one.

I think I remember The Twilight Zone episode Wikipedia is talking about, that one inspired by “The Bus Conductor”, although I don’t recall whether it impressed me as much as this short story did. As this entire volume did.

I must confess I’m not a compulsive reader of Gothic literature, but now and again I feel like looking into the dark side of imagination☺. And here I am, somehow guiltily enjoying this collection of “spook” stories, some of them really, really good.

What I liked best and marked...more
Hugo Emanuel
E.F. Benson's ghostly tales are varied as they are enjoyable. Ghosts, Psychic Vampirism, Healers, Witches, Reincarnated souls, human sacrifices brought on by ghosts, dangerous and secret cults, Vampires, Elementals, Charlatan Psychics, haunted automobiles and even giant monkeys populate these pages of absolutely engrossing supernatural tales. Even the moods that pervade these stories are quite varied; some are very bleak and grisly considering the period at which they were written, others humoro...more
This collection is brilliant, and apart from MR James there is no teller of ghost stories who can make my hair stand on end and give me deliciously disturbed dreams like Benson. It's a book to read together, shortly before Christmas, by candlelight, snuggled up on a couch, with giggles and shivers and looking over the shoulder occasionally into the shadows, then running upstairs in the dark and laughing at such things. In my dreams...
To love horror and not to have read E.F. Benson's Collected Stories is to miss out on a real classic. If you read this book, do not read "The Room in the Tower" when you are alone. You will go mad.
Head to head with M. R. James for the best of the best in British ghost stories.
Orrin Grey
I've not quite read every story in this just yet, but close enough. I'll be finishing it today. But I think I've read enough to say that it's amazing, and I loved it!

I was, of course, familiar with some of Benson's work from anthologies and the like, and I recently read his collection Spook stories and enjoyed it, but I didn't realize how much I loved Benson until I got this whole collection and started going through the stories, picking at them willy-nilly in whatever order struck me. I didn't...more
(OK, what I am really reviwing here is a collection called "The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson," but this is as close as I could find on goodreads to the book that I just finished....)

I had read E.F. Benson's "The Horror Horn" to start with (a collection of 13 of his best ghost stories), after seeing that it was considered one of the Top 100 Horror Books of all time in Newman & Jones' excellent overview volume. Each of those 13 stories was so good that I just had to have more, and so...more
Julie Davis
Jun 12, 2012 Julie Davis marked it as to-read
E.F. Benson is better known for his Mapp & Lucia stories, which I adored when I discovered them as a young adult. I didn't know that he wrote ghost stories but when I came across a podcast which is working its way through the stories in a leisurely fashion, I immediately began listening. The narration is wonderful and the stories are excellent. Only two have been read so far but I'm content to wait upon the narrator's pleasure. Too many ghost stories at once would surely dull the pleasure.
"Currently Reading" because this is a book I read in dribs and drabs. The best of these are wonderful, I don't have the volume in front of me, but "Caterpillars" particularly comes to mind. Creepy story!
These aren't ghost stories these are ghost stories.
Rick F.
my all time favorite book!!!!!!!!!!!
I gave it only four stars because while I really enjoyed most of the stories, the last four or so were so dull and silly that I skipped them (one story included a bloke going on for about four pages about how wonderful his friend's new car is, with it having no real bearing on the story. I think Mr Benson was indulging himself in a blokeish car-geek moment here) and while E.F Benson is a fine ghost/horror story in his own right, he's nowhere near as good as M.R. James, and a lot of the stories w...more
i liked the evocation of the lost world the stories take place in (contemporary to Benson, of course), particularly the earliest stories where motoring is clearly a novelty and an adventure, more than the supernatural element, which tends to follow an identifiable pattern when read en masse like this - malign presence is observed, moves closer and closer to the house each time it's sighted, eventually brushing unseen past the protagonist/narrator and ending in sudden, horrid death. and i'm afrai...more
Elegant and genteel, but 600 pages of it is a bit of overkill. Would probably work better reading one story a night...back cover says: "His stories are extremely varied in content"...well, not really--they're ghost stories. And certainly not in style...though "Pirates" was a different story than the others. But there's always golf and motor cars, and a house me and a friend decided to stay in for a few months, and invisible steps and guys you see for just a moment, and sudden rainstorms...still,...more
Richard Noble
better than the works of the alleged master, m r James. The sheer number of male characters living together in the stories add some weight to rumours regarding the author's sexuality.
Disappointing in may respects, since I love his Mapp and Lucia stuff. Can be a bit sluggish and themes are repeated. Still worth a look for folks looking for spooky short stories.
Can't say enough good things about this collection that I bought for 50 cents at a library sale.600 some odd pages of pure delight.Great read.
Dec 02, 2008 Diana added it
In honor of Halloween.
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Edward Frederic Benson wrote comic novels, ghost stories, novels of manners, memoirs and reminiscences, and informal biographies -- almost 100 books in total.
More about E.F. Benson...
Queen Lucia (Lucia, #1) Mapp and Lucia (Lucia, #4) Miss Mapp (Lucia, #3) Lucia in London (Lucia, #2) Trouble for Lucia (Lucia, #6)

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“...vicinity to the sea is desirable, because it is easier to do nothing by the sea than anywhere else, and because bathing and basking on the shore cannot be considered an employment but only an apotheosis of loafing. ("Expiation")” 10 likes
“The subject dropped, and we sat on in the dusk that was rapidly deepening into night. The door into the hall was open at our backs, and a panel of light from the lamps within was cast out to the terrace. Wandering moths, invisible in the darkness, suddenly became manifest as they fluttered into this illumination, and vanished again as they passed out of it. One moment they were there, living things with life and motion of their own, the next they quite disappeared. How inexplicable that would be, I thought, if one did not know from long familiarity, that light of the appropriate sort and strength is needed to make material objects visible.

Philip must have been following precisely the same train of thought, for his voice broke in, carrying it a little further.

'Look at that moth,' he said, 'and even while you look it has gone like a ghost, even as like a ghost it appeared. Light made it visible. And there are other sorts of light, interior psychical light which similarly makes visible the beings which people the darkness of our blindness.' ("Expiation")”
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