Graham's Reviews > Great Ghost Stories

Great Ghost Stories by Herbert van Thal
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's review
Dec 20, 09

bookshelves: anthology, horror
Read in May, 2006, read count: 1

There isn’t really a great deal to say about this book, because the majority of the stories are already VERY familiar to fans of the genre.

THE HAUNTED AND THE HAUNTERS by Lord Lytton is the classic ghost story prototype; THE SQUIRE’S STORY marks Elizabeth Gaskell’s attempt at the genre; A TERRIBLY STRANGE BED is a thrilling Wilkie Collins effort; AN ACCOUNT OF SOME STRANGE DISTURBANCES IN AUNGIER STREET is one of J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s finest supernatural tales; THE PHANTOM COACH by Amelia B. Edwards must go down in history as one of the most anthologised Victorian ghost stories of all time, and Charles Dickens’s THE SIGNALMAN is a classic, pure and simple.

This left me with exactly four new-to-me stories, as follows:

RUNNING WOLF, by Algernon Blackwood. A Canadian writer visiting an isolated woodland spot is stalked by a timber wolf. Another brilliant effort from this writer, full of psychology and atmosphere. Nothing at all is wrong with it.

THE SPECTRE BRIDEGROOM by Washington Irving. We all know of Irving as the author of THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW, and this is another fantastically evocative story, full of Gothic elements. There are forested castles, vicious bandits, spooky banquets and fair maidens, all complemented by a twist ending.

MARKHEIM by Robert Louis Stevenson. A gambler enters an antique store and murders the owner. I liked the psychology of the protagonist (antagonist?) in this one, but the story is very long winded and overstays its welcome, so I couldn’t enjoy it.

THE STORY OF MARY ANCEL by William Makepeace Thackeray. The author of VANITY FAIR writes a story of the French Revolution all about lust and greed. It’s effective enough, and might be a true story, but I don’t really think it can be called a ghost story.

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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Jeannie (new)

Jeannie Sloan Thanks for the review.I think I will give it a pass since I have read most of the stories.
Happy Holidays.

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