Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories” as Want to Read:
Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  3,495 ratings  ·  390 reviews
Who better to investigate the literary spirit world than that supreme connoisseur of the unexpected, Roald Dahl? Of the many permutations of the macabre, Dahl was always especially fascinated by the classic ghost story. For this superbly disquieting collection, he selected fourteen of his favorite tales by such authors as E.F. Benson, Rosemary Timperley, and Edith Wharton

Paperback, 249 pages
Published 1985 by Penguin UK (first published 1983)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Ron You might want to reread the introduction. It's only a few pages, and should clear up your question easily.

He was choosing 24 stories (out of 749…more
You might want to reread the introduction. It's only a few pages, and should clear up your question easily.

He was choosing 24 stories (out of 749 eventually read) for a TV series, and he noticed a trend that most of the stories he liked were written by women. By "most" this meant - most of his early reading on the subject. Then he comments that male authors had as many good stories - and as the reading progressed, more of the stories he favored (11F/13M).
He was limited to 14 stories for this collection - and of the best of the 24, he'd chosen, most of them were written by men. It isn't complicated.

The commentary was initially intended to point out that women are the most widely read children's book writers - and that if you look a little closer, they are often not given enough credit for being among the most read ghost story writers as well. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,495 ratings  ·  390 reviews

Sort order
Oct 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Every year on Halloween night, I permit myself one Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. It is a great indulgence for me, an annual event, and I savor the moment, taking very small bites to prolong the experience.

This collection of ghost stories, that I bought last year after the creepy season ended, felt like a similar indulgence to me. I was going to savor Roald Dahls' writing one story at a time, one story for 14 nights of October, leading up to Halloween night. . .

But, as soon as I opened it up, I ex
Fiona MacDonald
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
I was seriously impressed by this collection of ghost stories. I would estimate that 10 out of 14 were genuinely frightening and it took me a while to focus on the present day after being taken into the past. Also the calibre of these stories was exceptional (as Dahl states in his introduction) 'The Telephone', 'The Upper Berth' and 'The Ghost of a Hand' were particular favourites that really scared me. The wonderful introduction by Roald Dahl really accenuates each story and the history behind ...more
Kathryn McCary
Funny, although ten out of the 14 stories in this book are ones I like, at least to some degree, I'd really rather read them in some other collection. I think it may be Dahl's rambling, discursive and inconclusive introduction. He rides an utterly irrelevant hobby horse (children's writers don't get no respect) and indulges in a peculiar--and not well supported--comparison of the merit of men and women both as writers in general (men are better) and as ghost story writers (women are better). His ...more
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A novelist receives strange and disturbing post cards from an unknown fan ; lonely children speak to and about what their parents or guardians dismiss as imaginary friends until contrary evidence materializes ; an impoverished writer visits an antique shop finding different surroundings and tenants at night to those during the daytime ; a strange hand haunts a mansion and it's inhabitants ; strange telephone calls from the dead ; a mystery figure sweeps up leaves at night ; all who sleep on cabi ...more
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book has been sitting on my TBR since 2011. Yes, I have finally gotten around to it. It was full of creepers by plenty of forgotten authors such as A.M. Barrage, F. Marion Crawford, And Rosemary Timperley.

Dahl did a wonderful job selecting these stories.

If you can, find a copy and savour the scare.
merina rey
Jul 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
Maybe I’m desensitized... but wow this sucked 😱
I would say no fault to Roald Dahl because he obviously didn’t write any of these but I mean he compiled them in a book and just wow. I came so close to DNFing this. It was torture. I tortured myself.
The only thing scary in regards to this book was the feeling like I wasn’t going to make it out alive. I was for sure I would succumb to terriblebookitis.
Juan Manuel Sarmiento
Como ocurre con todas las antologías de relatos, siempre hay algunos que destacan más que otros y que perduran más en la memoria. Uno de mis favoritos es el de "Harry", escrito por Rosemary Timperley, que trata sobre una niña adoptada que parece tener un amigo imaginario muy interesado en protegerla y enseñarle cosas.
No quisiera contaros nada más sobre los relatos que contiene, ya que en estas situaciones es mejor que cada uno los descubra por sí mismos. Pero asegúrate de tener las luces encendi
Mar 14, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a really depressing book. In his weirdly sexist preface, an author I greatly respect says that he has read through 749 ghost stories to select these 14 as the very pinnacle of the genre. And, let's ruin all the intrigue from the start, they kinda suck. So either these 14 really are the best stories the genre has to offer, which is at least as depressing as your girlfriend breaking up with you on your anniversary to date Roald Dahl's son, or one really good writer, who succeeded in creati ...more
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever had tea at a fancy hotel? The waiter serves you these beautiful little scones, miniature sandwiches, tiny, tiny biscuits, and chocolate-covered strawberries on a gorgeous tiered tray, with pots of lemon curd and strawberry jam and pats of butter on the side, and a hot pot of tea. If you're lucky, there's a cellist in the corner of the room and a beautiful garden outside the window.

I have only had this experience twice, but both times I adored how the atmosphere felt so distinguishe
Apr 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 stelle e mezzo.
Mar 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of supernatural fiction/ghost stories
To elaborate on the background given in the description above, Dahl's extensive reading of ghost stories in the late 1950s and early 60s was originally undertaken to select quality specimens for adaptation in a projected TV series (which was never made). He was previously unread in this type of literature, and found that most of it failed to deliver the genuinely scary quality he expected; but some stories made the grade with him, and here he collects 14 of the best of these. Despite his avowed ...more
May 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012-read
A disappointing read. I grabbed the book at a book trade thinking it had been written by Dahl, which it hadn't. Rather, it was a compilation of 20-some "horror" stories which he considered the best of the best.

Unfortunately, in this case I'm inclined to respectfully disagree with Mr. Dahl. Only a small handful of the short stories were of any interest, and not one left me with the disturbed or off feeling a really good spooky story brings. Most were happily and fully resolved without any need t
Jan 14, 2009 rated it it was ok
After the introduction (where Dahl is shocked - shocked - to find that women write better ghost stories than men, and spends another page ruminating why would this be? when women fail at every other form of art (painting, sculpting, music) - after that charming introduction, the stories begin. (The title is misleading: Dahl is not the author.)

It's a mixed bag. Some are coldly shocking ("Elias and the Draug", "Ringing the Changes"), some predictable ("Playmates"). Some are brilliant and cruel ("A
Señó  Mochuelo
Esta antología me ha hecho viajar a mi pasado lector, a mis inicios como devoto seguidor del Poe de las Narraciones extraordinarias . Y es que hubo un tiempo en el que solo leía terror, por eso, aun hoy, me siento poderosamente atraído por estas historias truculentas de la época clásica del género. ¡Ay, qué sería de mí sin esos autores de finales del XIX! Al sentir el entusiasmo del propio antólogo, enseguida viajé a ese tiempo paradisíaco de niño que se abre al mundo y descubre muchas cosas; co ...more
Ruth Berent
Un recopilatorio de cuentos de fantasmas un tanto irregular.

Solo un cuento me pareció brillante, aun y con sus defectos: Las Campanadas.

El resto no están mal pero les falta algo. No obstante, la recopilación es curiosa y amena.
Libros Prohibidos
Al sentir el entusiasmo del propio antólogo, enseguida viajé a ese tiempo paradisíaco de niño que se abre al mundo y descubre muchas cosas; como que la crueldad que se respiraba más allá de su ventana podía ser sublimada en unas cuanta páginas donde lo fantasmal sirve de gran contenedor para nuestros miedos ancestrales que han llegado hasta nuestros días transformados pero vivaces. Hoy el terror ha seguido evolucionando y me pregunto si Dahl hubiera elegido entre sus fantasmas favoritos los rela ...more
May 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
The stories weren't as scary as i thought they were to be, i found this to be more suitable for preteens rather than adults. There is an interesting intro where Dahl explains why women are better suited as writers for children books and his overall take on how difficult it is to write a book for children. Not my favourite book by him, but it was nice to see him do something different
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Edith Wharton writes a damn good ghost story.
Fiebre Lectora
Recomiendo ir leyéndolos poco a poco, como yo he hecho, para luego volver a sumergirse en ese ambiente paranormal, y que a pesar de ser bastante miedica, ha sido una lectura que he disfrutado, con algunos cuentos realmente sorprendentes y turbios.
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
¡Qué bien me lo he pasado leyendo estos relatos! Hacía años que miraba los libros de terror con rechazo y esta antología me ha reconciliado con el género (al menos en el plano literario). Roald Dahl hace una selección de 14 relatos de escritores que vivieron en los siglos XIX y XX que, aunque no nos lleguen a estremecer tanto como lo hicieran con el autor debido a la sobreexplotación de la temática en ese último siglo y debido a que hay relatos que nos parecerán mejores que otro, sí conseguiremo ...more
Jul 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shorts
A fine collection of ghost stories, and I enjoyed the chance to sample several authors I've heard of but never read before. As usual, some were just okay, some were good, and a couple were quite good. The first story, "W.S.," by L.P Hartley, "The Corner Shop," by Cynthia Asquith, and "Playmates" and "The Sweeper," by A.M. Burrage were my favorites. Dahl's introduction, in which he explains how he came to collect these stories and shares his ideas on the artistic abilities of women (they can't co ...more
Dec 01, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
First, they're not by Roald Dahl. They're curated by Roald Dahl. This is very different and not at all clear from the cover.

Second, they are not horror stories. They are ghost stories (at least the first two, which is all I made it through). Like you hear at the campfire. About the girl whose mother answers the door and it turns out her daughter died 20 years ago last night or whatever. Much narrower genre.

Third, they are old ghost stories. And that means that you definitely, definitely, have a
Mirex Tempus Fugit
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bon llibre d'històries curtes. Ideal per llegir abans d'anar a dormir. Algunes són realment bones.
Erin the Avid Reader ⚜BFF's with the Cheshire Cat⚜
I am deeply sorry to give this book a mere 2 stars, yet the thought of giving this book more than that is a huge no-no on my part. I read every story in here twice and didn't find any of them scary or vaguely interesting.

When I picked up this book I was expecting these to be short horror stories written by Ronald Dahl, but none of these are! They're simply stories he found scary and compiled into a book before slapping his name on the cover.

I am actually a fan of the traditional ghost story, a
Lisa Ard
Sep 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Is it terrible to say the best part of this book is the introduction? But then, I am a Roald Dahl fan. And, the stories within this compilation are not by Dahl. Rather they are the best of some 700+ ghost stories Roald Dahl read. There are several that are magnificent and a few that....well, could be shorter. For the reader looking for a selection of short stories to frighten and entertain, this is a good volume to pick up.
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A creepy collection of old-fashioned stories that favours creaky old English houses and the as-told-to style common in the late 19th century.
The premise sounds like one that could not possibly disappoint, but it is also not quite presented truthfully. The idea is that Dahl read 450 ghost stories in preparation for creating screenplays for a season's worth of them for an anthology TV show. The forward, and publishers, tell you that this book prints the best 14 stories out of those 450 - as chosen by Dahl. I think the dishonesty in that idea is that they were the best stories - - I think, rather, they were chosen by him as the best sto ...more
José Cárdenas
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lástima que la serie de la que habla en el prólogo no se llegara a rodar, y que de los cuentos seleccionados para ella se quedaran unos cuantos fuera de la antología. Muy buena selección, aunque los lectores aficionados al género conocerán ya la mayor parte de las historias.
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fun collection of classic ghost stories with some real chillers mixed into the bunch.
Feb 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Melissa by: Grandad
This was an interesting little collection, given to me by my grandad. I have some fond, vivid memories of visiting my grandparents as a kid, and sneaking off to read from the upstairs closet - Roald Dahl, Stephen King, stuff that scared me stiff in the best sort of way, while my grandad turned a blind eye approvingly. So, I had fairly high expectations when he gave me Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories, and I think the compendium largely met them. It's hard to be sure, because more than a decade ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Haunted Looking Glass
  • The Virago Book of Ghost Stories
  • The Dark: New Ghost Stories
  • The Mammoth Book of 20th Century Ghost Stories
  • The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories
  • Classic Ghost Stories by Wilkie Collins, M.R. James, Charles Dickens and Others
  • Best Ghost Stories of J.S. Le Fanu
  • The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson
  • Late Victorian Gothic Tales
  • Ghosts by Gaslight
  • Ancestral Shadows: An Anthology of Ghostly Tales
  • 100 Ghastly Little Ghost Stories
  • Ghosts: A Treasury of Chilling Tales Old & New
  • Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural
  • The Dracula Book of Great Vampire Stories
  • The Dead of Winter
  • Hauntings: Tales of the Supernatural
  • The Signalman & Other Ghost Stories
Roald Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer and screenwriter of Norwegian descent, who rose to prominence in the 1940's with works for both children and adults, and became one of the world's bestselling authors.

Dahl's first published work, inspired by a meeting with C. S. Forester, was Shot Down Over Libya. Today the story is published as A Piece of Cake. The story, about his wartime adv