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Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  964 ratings  ·  111 reviews
When Professor Parkins finds an old whistle, his stay at Globe Inn takes a turn for the eerie.
Paperback, 48 pages
Published October 24th 2008 by Dodo Press (first published 1904)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  964 ratings  ·  111 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edwardian, gothic
”Parkins, who very much dislikes being questioned about it, did once describe something of it in my hearing, and I gathered that what he chiefly remembers about it is a horrible, an intensely horrible, face of crumpled linen. What expression he read upon it he could not or would not tell, but that the fear of it went nigh to maddening him is certain.”

 photo Whistle_and_Ill_come_to_you_illustration_zpsn7i3m4fr.jpg
Illustration by James McBryde

I’m sure everyone has woken in the middle of the night and had a fright from something that in uncertain light an

this explanation/intro will be posted before each day’s short story. scroll down to get to the story-review.

this is the FOURTH year of me doing a short story advent calendar as my december project. for those of you new to me or this endeavor, here’s the skinny: every day in december, i will be reading a short story that is 1) available free somewhere on internet, and 2) listed on goodreads as its own discrete entity. there will be links provided for those of you who l
Bill Kerwin
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing

“Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to You My Lad” is a classic, a must-read for all lovers of the English ghost story. (“But you always say that about M.R. James’ stories.” “Well, yes . . . at least for the stories in first two collections, I do.)

I don’t want to spoil its thrills by saying much about it, but I’ll say this: if you have ever disturbed, in the growing dark, by the shape of crumpled bed clothes, then this is the tale for you.

Three other things: 1) Our protagonist Perkins’ area of specializa
Richard Derus
Jun 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindled
Rating: 4* of five

Reading it was most amusing as I was, only yesterday, watching the 1968 BBC adaptation of the story. I am deficient as a human being, somehow, as James's "creepiness" whizzes past me and leaves no trace on my creeper. The story is, as a story, delightful and James is, as a writer, mannered yet quite readable.

The adaptation is delightful but again leaves me utterly uncreeped. It is a moral failing on my part, I'm sure, and the legions of James fans are superior souls who see som
LeAnne: GeezerMom
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Short and creepy classic with rare instance of the narration crossing the boundary to speak with the reader. I may sweat through my bedsheets tonight! Fun stuff. 🎃
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was classic M.R. James. It made my hair stand on end.
Jun 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those looking for a good campfire story to tell
Shelves: short-stories
An essay in Michael Chabon's Maps and Legends titled 'The Other James' refers to this M.R. James ghost story as "one of the finest short stories ever written," high praise that couldn't help but prompt me to read it. And I did enjoy it, although I wouldn't say it was among my favorite short stories, let alone the finest ever written. It reminded me a great deal of William Hope Hodgson's Carnacki, The Ghost Finder. ...more
Bill Lynas
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the best MR James story that I have read so far. I had already seen the BBC television version starring John Hurt, but the story is even better. Bedsheets have never been this scary!
Benjamin Stahl
Oct 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
One of James's more famous stories, and for good reason. Not only is it very atmospheric and creepy, particularly in the former half, but he also infuses a surprising amount of humour into it as well. Just the professors bantering with each other at campus in the beginning is immediately engaging. But then James takes you into his usual, magnificent realm of classic, understated, British ghostliness. The imagery he evokes as the protagonist makes his way home along and the beach, and eventually ...more
Kaethe Douglas
Jul 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
James writes marvelous ghost stories of steadily increasing creepiness. this is one of his best.
K. Anna Kraft
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
I have arranged my thoughts into a haiku:

"Something to be learned:
Items one finds in the dirt
Don't go in one's mouth."
Kate Bystrova
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short story came very well recommended by a gentleman (there was no other way to describe him, really) of many winters as well as a girl in her mid-twenties. Well, I thought, if a text spans a gap like that and comes out on top, surely it's worth a look.

The first thing that struck me about the story is that it is very well written and very classically crafted - and so made me feel immediately impatient. The opening few pages take the form of a pretty stilted conversation between the protag
Dave Taylor
I first watched the TV adaptation on the BBC as part of a Christmas Ghost story collection years ago with Michael Hordern in the lead role, as a child it was very creepy.
This Audible audiobook version of the classic short story with David Suchet narrating it has been rendered less creepy by the passage of time, whilst he reads it well enough to give it all the suspense, I feel that the cynical, jaded version of me has spoilt the 'chill' factor.
It's still a well written piece that will stand (and
Alannah Clarke
Dec 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I wasn't really expecting much out of this audiobook since I had got it for free, what with being an member but I ended up enjoying it. I thought the voice of the narrator really suited the plotline of the book. It ended up really sucking me into the book I could not stop listening it, even though it is only less than an hour long, it makes it perfect as you can sit and listen to it in one take.
Dafne Adıgüzel
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
“Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come Back to You My Lad” (1904) written by M.R. James, usually known as a master of the ghost stories, is about a young and superstitious professor who goes on a vacation with the recommendation of his friend. All the events start when he finds a whistle which has Latin characters on and put it into his pocket. After that, we start to witness his beliefs changing towards to the end of the story. Usually, whistle symbolizes death in the literature which gives us a clue about ...more
Oct 20, 2019 rated it liked it
If you are looking for old-school horror, there is none probably better than M. R. James; a hobbyist with a pension for writing horror tales. The principal story, "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad" is surprisingly chilling and theatrical for the time period, and both the 1968 and 2010 BBC adaptations (which can be found for free on YouTube) should be paired as required watches.
Emilia Barnes
Interesting short ghost story. Very atmospheric, but as it is a short story there isn't that much going on in it.
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: freebee
Xmas give away from Audible a few years back. Not much good.
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I must say that the novel was scarier than the movie and I look forward to read more of M.R. James stories.
Oh, whistle, and I`ll come to you, my lad by M.R. James get a 7.7/10 stars.
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh, the papists! And their spooky linen!
Ebster Davis
Mar 05, 2019 rated it liked it
A good story for halloween time.
This is a classic ghost story that I picked up because Michael Chabon said it was one of the best short stories he ever read. Part of what makes this so interesting is- even though it was written in the early 1900's- the narrative style has a modern feel to it. The unnamed narrator (never part of the story) is ironic, witty and playful. The framework itself is a traditional ghost story in which a very non-superstitious college professor is frightened out of his mind by an apparition. MR James do ...more
Molly Cawthorn
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: haunting-texts
My first M.R. James short story. I read this for my Haunting Texts class for the third year. This surprised me. I actually really liked this one. I found it kind of hilarious but also really creepy. It has the sort of imagery in it that you imagine at the foot of your bed at 4 am in the morning. Certainly a great start to my M.R. James experience. 3.5/5. Summer 2018

After studying ghost story theory, reading a selection of Victorian as well as modern ghost stories, I feel I can appreciate this st
Audible book - 50 mins, read by David Suchet.

I don't have many audio books - the few I do have are ones where I also have the 'hard copy' and therefore I am already familiar with the story. But I have been a little disappointed with a couple of horror stories recently and I though I would give this a try.

Suchet does a great job, but even so I found myself struggling to focus on the narration. I am a 'reader' and 'doer' rather than a listener, and I never really got into the story - a result of
Tariq Mahmood
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: british, mystry, horror
Its a fantastic little story which I listened to instead of reading it. The author has the capability of presenting normal details as extraordinary somehow which is a great skill. The result is a captivating and engaging tale of a sceptic professor's first ever ghost experience. I wont spoil with too much details but this is a must read.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
The story on it's own, I would give a much lower score. The narrating by David Suchet however, made listening to this story a great experience. Narration gets 5 stars, the story only 3.
Great classic spooky short story.
John Yelverton
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
A man finds an old and mysterious whistle, and once it is blown, he is haunted in truly horrific fashion. This is a very well done ghost story, and fans of the genre should love this tale.
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Upper middle-class gentlemen, a Professor of Ontography (Parkins) on holiday in Suffolk (Burnstow Beach at the Globe Inn) at the turn- of-the-last century. Finds an old whistle at a ruined Templar's preceptory which may be symbolic - religious life was significant in those days. Atmospheric, historic and mysterious (The Fens).

At that time, men and women were brought up with very different expectations and the lack of female companionship may have something to do with the mystery. The house maid
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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 dispensing ...more

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