I thoroughly enjoyed this book on the life of Montague Rhodes James (1862-1936), England's finest ghost story writer, and Michael Cox has produced an excellent biography of the scholar, dean and provost of King's College, Cambridge and later provost of Eton College. He concentrates on the man behind the ghost tales, exploring his character and his wide circle of friends. During his research Cox came upon an obscure `lost' work by James called `The malice of inanimate objects', something all Jamesian scholars and enthusiasts are grateful for.
We know James had a talent and a fascination for telling ghost stories to his school friends and there is a chapter on the development of the ghost stories and his own opinions on the `spirit world'. Cox quotes from the great man's letters and notebooks and there are lots of photographs, but those coming to `An Informal Portrait' with hopes of learning more about the composition of the famous ghost stories may be a little disappointed and perhaps you may wish to consult R. W. Pfaff's 1980 publication `Montague Rhodes James' which is still in my opinion the definitive biography. That said Cox has done excellent work in casting new light upon the master of shadows! Recommended!