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The Power of Darkness: Tales of Terror

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  301 ratings  ·  52 reviews
The figure of my wife came in... it came straight towards the bed... its wide eyes were open and looked at me with love unspeakable' Edith Nesbit, best known as the author of The Railway Children and other children's classics, was also the mistress of the ghost story and tales of terror. She was able to create genuinely chilling narratives in which the returning dead featu ...more
Paperback, 255 pages
Published July 5th 2006 by Wordsworth Editions
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Bill Kerwin
Oct 04, 2013 rated it really liked it

The Victorian writer Edith Nesbit is a study in contrasts. Although she was an unconventional woman, a Fabian socialist and a chain-smoker in an age when "well-bred women" did not smoke, she nevertheless--according to Mrs. G.K. Chesterton--suffered from "strange reversions to ultra-respectable standards."

Although her marriage to Hubert Bland was superficially traditional, and resulted in five children, it concealed a menage-a-trois: Alice Hoat, the "housekeeper," was her husband's mistress, and
May 22, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘Very good story,’ he said; ‘but it’s not what I call realism. You don’t tell us half enough, sir. You don’t say when it happened or where, or the time of year, or what colour your aunt’ s second cousin’s hair was. Nor yet you don’t tell us what it was she saw, nor what the room was like where she saw it, nor why she saw it, nor what happened afterwards.’ --‘Number 17’ (1910)

In this selection of Edith Nesbit’s tales of mystery and supernatural occurrences she demonstrates exactly how verisimilit
Sep 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
A collection of 20 ghost stories by an author best known for her childrens' books. Some are scary, some are dark, some are just plain weird. Most are about men and what happens to them when they don't act according to some sort of „norm“. As we learn in the introduction Nesbit had to share her husband with another woman and even raised her child. She did so without complaining, but I believe her unhappiness comes through in her ghost stories where she punishes men whether they have done somethin ...more
Aug 09, 2011 added it
I actually really enjoyed this. I thought that because there were so many stories in here, I wouldn't remember any of them - but when I looked back, I did! So they must have made an impression.

It's interesting to see that Nesbit wrote in many different genres, and it is a shame that these were previously neglected. Written in a realistic, straight-forward style, which conveys her uncoventional and independent attitude. These stories definitely seem to be ahead of their time, and less genteel, an
James Hold
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
THE POWER OF DARKNESS: TALES OF TERROR by Edith Nesbit. If there is one thing I've grown tired of it's introductions like the one in this 2006 Edith Nesbit collection where the fellow says, 'I will close with this piece of advice for novice Nesbit reader: do not attempt to sample these stories alone at night by candlelight!' I mean, come on; really? First off, who reads by candlelight? And second, we see graphic gore in movies and extreme violence on daily TV so the idea that a Victorian period ...more
Jed Mayer
Oct 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Nothing Nesbit wrote in the Gothic/weird genre was ever quite as magnificent as "Man-Sized in Marble," but there are enough engaging spine-tinglers here to make this an essential part of any horror collection. Her greatest gift was the breadth of her imagination, and ability to bring it to any setting, from salon to graveyard, and at her best she is as great a writer of tales of terror as of children's fantasy. ...more
Hugo Emanuel
Oct 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned
One of the least engaging collections of supernatural tales I've read so far. The stories fail to both chill and avoid the clichés of the genre. Despite the character's backgrounds and settings of the stories being quite diverse, the overall plots are quite common, which would be quite all right if the prose conveyed any kind of suspense or dread. Instead, we have somewhat fleshed-out characters brought to life by a prose which seems more preoccupied with being whimsy and witty than horrific or ...more
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I didn’t know anything of Edith Newbit till I read this book The Power of Darkness Tales of Terror. Stellar story telling. I thought the writers of that century the ones I’ve read, Poe, Hugo, Conrad, and now Nesbit they all serve up a rich broth of flowing language but Ms. Nesbit who is especially rich in her detail and descriptive eloquence.

“There was a woman in it, of course, and money, and a friend, and regrets and embarrassments –and all of these reached out tendrils that wove and interwove
Tom Mathews
Perhaps best know for her Boxcar Children series, E. Nesbit also wrote many entertaining ghost stories. The stories are fairly lightweight, similar to what one would expect from an episode of The Twilight Zone.

My thanks to the good folks at The Literary Darkness reading group for introducing me to this and many other examples of literary dark fiction. There is no other group at Goodreads as capable of picking apart a book and helping readers glean from it all they can.
Suki St Charles
31 Classic Horror Stories Every Fan Should Read in October: A Literary Advent Calender for Halloween: Day 22:
Shawn Birss
Feb 10, 2018 rated it liked it
This recent collection of works by Edith Nesbit contains the following stories, in this order:

Man-Size in Marble
Uncle Abraham's Romance
From the Dead
The Three Drugs
The Violet Car
John Charrington's Wedding
The Pavilion
Hurst of Hurstcote
In the Dark
The Head
The Mystery of the Semi-detached
The Ebony Frame
The Five Senses
The Shadow
The Power of Darkness
The Haunted Inheritance
The Letter in Brown Ink
The House of Silence
The Haunted House
The Detective

But for The Detective, I was able to find them all online,
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another fantastic collection of late Victorian supernatural fiction. I would rank Edith Nesbit higher than average when it comes to the genre. Her prose is sharp, modern(ist), and can be witty as well as dark. “Man-Size in Marble” and “John Charrington’s Wedding” have been frequently anthologized and rightfully so for they are indisputable classics. But several stories in this collection are just as good or arguably better than those. “The Ebony Frame,” “From the Dead,” “The Shadow,” and “The Pa ...more
Warren Fournier
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Dark" story from a children's author

This is not a review of the collection but of the story "The Power of Darkness" itself, which is one of the finest examples of "less is more" in horror literature. I found myself genuinely scared by this little gem despite no gore, no monsters, and no ghosts. This is just a strict exercise in suspense and on tickling the primal fear of the dark that exists even in the most intellectual human mind. Like the spooky museum featured in this tale, they just don't
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
my main takeaway from this is that people went mad reaaaally easily back in victorian times. one little corpse, or one little ghost, and folks were left drooling, gibbering, and ready for the asylum. otherwise, these stories were pretty good. some spooky, some funny. i think the real horror of them has been diluted because a lot of these scenarios have become cliches, but at the time they were written they must have sent more than a few people to the madhouse. this book is also notable to me per ...more
Robert Hepple
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Published in 2006, 'The Power of Darkness: Tales of Terror' is a collection of supernatural tales by an author more commonly known as the author of several children's books. The stories are well written and suspenseful, despite a tendency to be predictable. In this edition, the stories listed on the contents page not only have page numbers that do not match the stories inside, but omit a story altogether. This may be deliberate, as the story 'Number 17', omitted from the contents page, is the 17 ...more
Nov 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Edith Nesbit was a prolific late Victorian and Edwardian author, today best known for her children's books featuring the Bastable family and the enduring Classic The Railway Children. She also wrote many short stories, which often featured ghostly or other unworldly themes. Two of those, Man Size in Marble and John Charrington's Wedding, are much-anthologised, and are certainly the best stories in this collection. Most of the others are fairly typical shockers of the period, best read, I suspect ...more
Jan 22, 2018 rated it liked it
This was O.K...not outstanding but a fair collection of macabre tales and hit and miss quota wise..well significantly more hits than misses.
In honesty the less supernatural tales are the more fun as there's a cheeky deceit in the way of a couple of tales which I admired for their cleverness..much more so than the run of the mill departed lover returning tale or ghostly prescience ones.
Not bad at all the tales recall Roald Dahls adult tales more than say Lovecraft or Poe but I found this book wor
Jan 27, 2021 added it
Strangely enough, I guess, I read these stories without having ever read any of Nesbit's fantasy works. This is actually the first of her writing I've read which, I gather, isn't common. Anyway, I enjoyed these stories very much. All of them are incredibly unsettling in different ways, all the more so for the wry tone Nesbit takes. A lot of the horror I've been reading lately is the sort of post-Lovecraft cosmic horror so it's good to go back and read the pre-Lovecraft, ghost-based horror that i ...more
Mar 26, 2017 rated it liked it
E. Nesbit, who is best remembered as a children's author, wrote many stories of mystery and the supernatural and this collection probably represents her best. This collection is worth reading for fans of Victorian/early 20th century stories of this genre. There's nothing particularly scary or chilling in this collection, and many of the stories are not supernatural at all. Often the central theme is unrequited or otherwise unsuccessful love or romance. ...more
Charlene Morris
Oct 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
I did try to include where the original printing of the story was and year as reference for others.

Man-Size in Marble (December 1887- Home Chimes Magazine/ "Grim Tales" 1893)
Uncle Abraham's Romance ("Grim Tales" 1893)
From the Dead ("Grim Tales" 1893)
The Three Drugs (February 1908 Strand Magazine)
The Violet Car ("Fear" 1910)
John Charrington's Wedding ("Grim Tales" 1893)
The Pavilion
Hurst of Hurstcote (1893)
In the Dark ("Fear" 1910)
The Head
The Mystery of the Semi-detached ("Grim Tales" 1893)
The Eb
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I hadn't read ghost stories for a while and I made no mistake when I chose this collection of tales by Edith Nesbit in preparation for Hallow'een. They're quite scary, albeit they lack the graphic violence typical of modern horror. So you won't find gore, but you'll find ghosts galore! ...more
Margaret M.
My Goodreads group had this author/title on a read list - I am smitten! Just what I wanted - lovely ghost stories and intelligent writing. I am going to read more by this author for sure.
Desire and greed can turn one’s choices into nightmares
Jun 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Power of Darkness: Tales of Terror keeps you riding along at a good pace.
Jun 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Lindberg can tell a terrific story.
Jul 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
It kept me going, when I had to stop, I couldn't wait to pick it up again, and that's kind of rare. ...more
Jul 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
If you love this shortstories genre and thought provoking reading, you HAVE to read this book!
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Violet Car by E. Nesbit
On Madness, Visions, Imagination and Ghosts
This will be more of a guessing note than a real resume, or rendition of the story. I can’t tell exactly if there is a violet car, if it was in the imagination of the sick patient, his hallucinations became contagious and here I am, doubting- was there such a car?
Actually I like lavender and the idea of a violet car, although preposterous to you, seems rather enticing to me.
But then, I did see an analyst, so there you have it
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
With her unconventional private life (sharing her husband with
another woman and keeping on good terms with both) is it any
wonder Edith often turned to the fantastic and macabre for
inspiration. I don't think there is a tame tale among this
collection. Some of them actual kept me up at night!!
Where to start - "From the Dead" starts conventionally enough
with the narrator marrying his best friend's sister when he
finds out his fiancée loves someone else but when his new wife
confesses it was all part o
Jun 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Most of the tales in this collection are fairly standard of their type and quite enjoyable. There are a few, however, which might best have been left on the scrap heap. The compiler's intentions are to showcase Ms. Nesbit as not just a childrens author, and as that it works just fine. There are many other short stories by Ms. Nesbit in a similar vein to those collected here that might have merited inclusion over some stories that did make it in.

The contents list is completely out of whack, one s
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Edith Nesbit (married name Edith Bland; 15 August 1858 – 4 May 1924) was an English author and poet; she published her books for children under the name of E. Nesbit.
She wrote or collaborated on over 60 books of fiction for children, several of which have been adapted for film and television. She was also a political activist and co-founded the Fabian Society, a socialist organisation later co

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