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The Haunted Dolls' House and Other Ghost Stories

(The Complete Ghost Stories of M.R. James #2)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  704 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Stories by a visionary master of supernatural fiction
In volume two of the only annotated edition of M. R. James's complete writings currently available, Penguin Classics brings together tales from James's final two works, A Thin Ghost and Others and A Warning to the Curious. In these stories, James continues his fearsome transformation of the ghost story from its ninete
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 28th 2006 by Penguin Classics
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4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  704 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Not sure why the publisher felt the need to produce this Penguin P60 with three stories by two authors - it would have made more sense to have three authors or just stick in a third by M R James and be done.

I suppose however, they are of a similar genre, and don't clash in terms of style.

The Haunted Dolls' House - M R James
Hard to consider this horror, more slightly disconcerting ghost story about - as you may have guessed a haunted dolls' house. No subterfuge in the title here. 2.5 stars

The Bo
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This collection of M.R. James short stories isn’t quite as good as ‘Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories’ but is still fantastic all the same.
The stories my not be as creepy but are still well written and entertaining, I especially liked ‘The Diary of Mr Poynter’ and ‘A View from a Hill. Some of the stories included also weren’t published in M.R. James’ lifetime as I was surprised by how good they were, it seems that James was incapable of writing anything less than brilliant.
Jim Smith
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A somewhat more mixed selection than the first volume, but very worthwhile. This second Penguin volume features the master's later stories, which I would have to agree with fan consensus aren't usually up to the standard of his earlier classics. That being said, lesser M. R. James is rarely less than entertaining, and even the poorer ones have some merit. I have read much criticism of Two Doctors, but I think it's a decent enough tale featuring a chrysalis dream sequence of pure nightmare imager ...more
David Stephens
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror
This second collection of ghost stories from the early twentieth century master M.R. James pulls works from his later catalog. It has often been suggested that James' later stories fall well short of his best work, and despite editor S.T. Joshi's claims to the contrary, this largely seems to be true.

James doesn't stray far from his traditional scenarios with these stories. They still mostly deal with a narrator (who irritatingly keeps interrupting throughout certain stories) who has heard rumors
Orrin Grey
Aug 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The two Penguin editions of James' ghost stories are divided up among his better (and better-known) ones, which are largely in the previous volume and his lesser works in this one. But lesser works by M.R. James are mostly still pretty great.

The main claim to fame in this volume are several short stories that weren't published by James in his collections, and which are therefore not contained in the Collected Ghost Stories. Sadly, most of these aren't anything particularly great, though "The Fen
Kumar Anshul
Dec 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
It was a small book with three short stories (that were supposed to be scary) that I picked up randomly from the local bookshop. I am already a bit wary of Horror genre and it's difficult to convince myself that you can actually get scared by "reading Horror stories".
The stories with complicated prose were an utter disappointment and reading them actually felt like a task. Hopefully someday I might pick up a book from Horror genre again and actually get scared.
An anthology of M. R. James chilling ghost stories.

Contains several of my favourites including the title story and "Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad."

Just the thing for a quiet Sunday afternoon.
J.L. Flores
Jul 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recomiendo a M R James a todos los que quieren entrar en una atmósfera ominosa, pero sin perder elegancia, y sobre todo, elegancia literaria.

Valdemar tiene una bonita colección con sus relatos.
Oct 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. I think that it is hard to find really good ghost stories. These are great! If you like Victorian fiction, you should love these.
Nov 14, 2017 rated it liked it
This book can be accurately looked at as volume 2 of M.R. James' ghost stories, a companion piece to Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories. While volume 1 has better selections in it there are stories included in this volume that are not to be missed. I particularly enjoyed The Fenstanton Witch, A Warning to the Curious, and Waling Well. There are also some wonderful commentaries by James in the Appendix that were a joy to read and get a feel for the man's personal tastes and sensibilities. He is ...more
Debra B.
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was unfamiliar with the author and his stories. I bought this book as a gift for a friend and she loved it. I also enjoyed the stories. We are now both going to read the first volume of the author's ghost stories.
The Bookish Hooker
I received this book as a gift last year at Christmas and decided to keep it until October before reading it. It set the mood for the month in a spectacular way. The stories are similar in tone and style to others I've read from the same time period so they aren't scary in the same way modern horror stories are. However, they are wonderfully suspenseful and frightening in a more classic manner. I've marked my favorites to reread next fall.
Carito GM
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
interesting story to provide life to inanimated objects
This second volume of MR James's supernatural stories suffers in comparison with the first. James wrote the bulk of his best stories early in his career, and these later tales, while still possessed of the same craft and depth of historical flavour, tend to feel a bit recycled and stale; indeed one of the tales, the titular Haunted Dolls House, James freely acknowledged to be a rehash of an earlier tale, The Mezzotint.

There's also more of a focus on English towns and villages, and less on the w
Sep 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, classics
I've never been a fan of short stories and this book sadly hasn't done much to sway me. I found a whole stack of Pengiun 60's books in a charity shop and i'm off to Paris tomorrow so decided to get a couple for the journey, i didn't want a long book that would need my complete attention or take up space in my bag. So i bought this one and The pit and the pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe which i plan to read on the trip. Out of the three stories Stevenson's The Body Snatchers is defiantly the best. It ...more
Chris Matney
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the second volume of the Penguin Classics covering the work of M.R. James. The stories in this volume include those from A Thin Ghost and Others and a Warning to the Curious.

Overall, these stories didn't catch my attention as much as the first volume - although a few in particular will remain in my memory for quite awhile to come. My favorite stories included: Two Doctors, The Haunted Doll's House and The Uncommon Prayer-book. Again, much of the magic of James' stories was the experiment
Salamander Sox
Mar 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
You know how quite a lot horror stories are graphic and sometimes inventive in it's goriness? This wasn't like that. This was surprisingly freaky in terms of scariness. It had ghosts, evil spirits, black magic, revenge, accidental had everything usual. What made it work though, was the author's distinctive writing style. It was witty but still able to convey the horror of the characters, so much so that when the main character of each short story, regardless of the fact that you've o ...more
Dec 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ghost-stories
Boy, do I love Mr. M. R. James. Kindred spirits in spirits, one might say. This volume is his b-sides, and he doesn't hit them all out of the ballpark, but that's part of the reason why I love James. Like Woody Allen's yearly movie, the consistency of production for an artist is almost the most admirable characteristic, not for its own sake, like brushing your teeth, but because it demonstrates that through this medium, ghost stories, James saw, interpreted, and explained the world around him.

Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book in the Penguin 60s series is unusual as it contains three stories by two different authors. The first and third stories are by M. R. James, while the middle story is by Robert Louis Stevenson. All three are fairly mild ghost stories, quite gentle when compared to the horrors described by Poppy Z. Brite in another little book in this series. They provide a fascinating look into the life in England during the Victorian era.

James en Stevenson se spookstories beeld die Victoriaanse era van
Nov 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, horror
The Haunted Doll's House: 2/5
Doesn't quite raise the goosebumps this one! It's more a strange tale; there's no real horror or fear, no threat or consequence. Not entirely boring, but nothing particularly special, either.

The Body Snatcher, R. L. Stevenson: 4/5
Ok now that is pretty creepy! Quite macabre subject matter and horrifying in its unanswered questions.

The Rose Garden: 3/5
This was a bit of a weird one, and an ending I didn't entirely get. I feel like it could have definitely been creepier
Davonna Juroe
Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I love this early 20th century tale (published in 1923). James' work always borders a bit on the bizarre. This short story follows a collector who finds a peculiar Gothic doll house that repeatedly reenacts a murder scene.

Definitely fits in the Weird Horror genre. An old English treat, and even better is an independent film maker adapted this into a short about a year ago:
Aaron Francione
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
For those interested in M.R. James, I enjoyed these Penguin classics editions for their notes and appendices by the authority of weird fiction, S.T. Joshi. While I've heard the criticism of James creating formulaic ghost stories, I would argue that he consciously helped write the modern formula. The stories in this vol. are slightly inferior on the whole to Count Magnus and others, but there are some really unsettling moments in this collection as well.
Dec 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Most of the stories in these later collections of James' ghost tales are indeed inferior to the earlier ones, just as majority opinion has it. Many stories are set in the (relatively distant) past. It would be interesting to speculate why period ghost stories are generally less effective than modern ones. Perhaps because history itself is a ghostly realm, so what's one ghost more or less?
John A.
Aug 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
MR James is my favorite writer of Ghost Stories.This is a great book to read all alone in a cabin in the woods with the wind blowing outside and rain slashing at the windows.The book though is 308 pages not 57 pages as listed at the top.
Oct 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ghost stories told by a kindly narrator with a dark sense of humour. Very enjoyable, although the footnotes got a little tiresome. Sometimes they had important information, even revealing the 'punchline' of the story through translations of Latin phrases, and sometimes they were obvious.
Richard Larson
Oct 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I just reread many of these stories as hurricane Sandy blistered past my windows. Good storm reading. Good reading any time, really. A giant among giants in the development of the ghost story.
Feb 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
He was the master of the genre.
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Seems like he was kind of running out of ideas towards the end, but there are still plenty of excellent ghost stories here. Not as good as the "Count Magnus" collection, but still worth getting.
Apr 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
More classics. Spoooooky.
Conrad Toft
A brief haunting.
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Montague Rhodes James, who used the publication name M.R. James, was a noted British mediaeval scholar & provost of King's College, Cambridge (1905–18) & of Eton College (1918–36). He's best remembered for his ghost stories which are widely regarded as among the finest in English literature. One of James' most important achievements was to redefine the ghost story for the new century by di ...more

Other books in the series

The Complete Ghost Stories of M.R. James (2 books)
  • Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories