2011: 16. The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories

“Emma Jeffries had been dead and buried three days.”

~ First Line of “The Readjustment” by Mary Austin

The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories: From Elizabeth Gaskell to Ambrose Bierce, selected by Michael Newton

           I was super excited about this book, because, duh, ghost stories (and selected by Penguin, a brand I know and trust!).   And the cover is super spooky and cool, too.  But, alas, I was disappointed.  First of all, the best ghost stories in the collection I had already read a ton of times (“The Monkey’s Paw” “Oh Whistle and I’ll Come To You, My Lad” and Wharton’s “Afterward”).  Much of the others just were super basic “oh look here we have a ghost” stories, that weren’t particularly creepy or interesting.  There were a few good ones, I guess (like the one quoted above, which was new to me, and quite nicely spooky).  But over all, this was a bust.

          But, maybe, its the nature of a collection like this? Once ghost story that you sneak across is interesting.  Maybe a whole bunch in a row lose their savour?  But, no, I’ve read other ghost collections and really enjoyed them.  I think the problem here is the “selector”, Michael Newton, who not only made boring selections, but whose notes were so irritating and pedantic that I wanted to reach in the book and slap him.  Such a disappointment - such a waste of a creepy cover!

Categories:  Fiction

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017