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VINE VOICEon 21 October 2012
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a very timely release; a very seasonal one. Andrew Sachs, whose voice, I must confess, I had never really listened to before, reads these four well-chosen chillers from the era of the great ghost story i.e. from the era of the candle and the open fire, screens, shadows and before the demise of the oral tradition in story telling.

The best ghost story is narrated; there is the tradition at this time of the year, as the nights draw in as the temperature plummets, for gathering around a fireplace and, accompanied by a little strong glass of "spirits" somebody tells a story to further chill the bones.

Chosen here is one of the most famous of such tales "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens; a story much collected, dramatised and filmed. Also E.F.Benson (he of Mapp & Lucia fame)is represented by two tales. I suspect he exploited this genre as it was a great joy to him to terrify his guests in Rye. Of the two "The Room in the Tower" is the more famous.
Completing this quartet M.R.James, also a master of the form, is represented by "The Haunted Doll's House" which simply aches to be filmed especially after the success of Susan Hill's "The Woman in Black"

This is definitely one for listening to behind drawn curtains. Dim the lights or even better light a candle or two and relive the genuine delight of being scared by the Masters
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VINE VOICEon 23 October 2012
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I admit that I love a good ghost story and eagerly sat down to listen to these four stories. After dimming the lights, switching off my mobile and pouring myself a nice glass of port, I was ready. Four the next 2 hours (apx) I was drawn into the shadowy world of spooks and spectres. Andrew Sachs (probably best know for Fawlty Towers) did a superb job of reading each tale. The four tales were The Signalman which is my all time favourite Charles Dickens story, The Haunted Doll's House by the master of the ghost story M R James and finally two excellent stories by E F Benson (which I have not had the pleasure of reading before) The Room In The Tower and The Bus Conductor. So, if like me you enjoy a good old fashioned ghost story, why not give Chilling Ghost Stories a listen - the dimmned lights and port are optional.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
AudioGo's latest compilation of classic ghost stories is a distinct improvement on their disappointing Ghostly Terror! (BBC Audiobooks) not so much because of the selection of stories as the improved presentation. Where the earlier effort split the stories between different narrators for each one with surprisingly flat results, this volume is left entirely in the very capable hands of Andrew Sachs, whose dulcet tones do an excellent job on all four. Aside from Charles Dickens' The Signalman it's a collection of lesser known tales - M.R. James' The Haunted Doll's House, a neat little vignette even if the author himself admitted it was just a variation on a theme on his much better The Mezzotint, and two E.F. Benson stories. The Room in the Tower is an intriguing tale of tale of a recurring dream of 15 years where, as the years progress, the characters become gradually older while the details get progressively darker and more decayed and morbid. It has a more definitive manifestation than usual, along with a disappointingly lurid epilogue, but it does a nice line in unease. The Bus Conductor is more familiar thanks to its appearance in Ealing's classic anthology Dead of Night [DVD], bringing things to a satisfying conclusion with its tale of a man haunted by visions of a hearse driver with room for one more inside, but the standout remains the first, though that's little surprise since Dickens is the better writer of the three. The only slight drawback is the overstated music that introduces each story and intrudes on the closing moments when Sachs' excellent reading alone would be far more effective, but it does little to mar a rather nice but not essential collection.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have another 2 cds from this series all of which have provided me with hours of spooky fun and this was another brilliant addition to my collection. This time it is Andrew Sachs reading the 4 stories and I was not disappointed - his voice has a lovely quality and a wonderful richness that lends itself naturally to ghost storytelling. The four stories are: The Signalman, The Haunted Dolls House, The Room in the Tower and The Bus-Conductor. I absolutely love M.R. James (The Haunted Dolls House) and I thoroughly enjoyed the other authors (inc Dickens) featured on this 2 disc selection. I felt that as with the other discs in this series all the stories were well chosen and complimented the mood and atmosphere of each other. You can easily listen to these over again and I usually like playing them in the car whilst I am travelling (especially at night!).

All in all I was delighted with these discs as I knew I would be and would definitely recommend them to anyone that can appreciate suspense and horror - not of the kind usually shown in modern films with lots of blood and gore, but REAL horror and suspense - the kind that makes you look over your shoulder and makes the hairs on the back of the neck creep. One line from the Bus Conductor describes the sensation of being intensely afraid of the dark but afraid of lighting the candle in case of what the light will let you see... THAT type of horror and suspense is what I love.

If you are a fan of the old masters of horror, then you will not be disappointed. There are other discs in this series and they are definitely worth a try as well.
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VINE VOICEon 3 January 2013
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This AudioGo offering gives us four short ghost stories on two CD's running for just under two hours. The stories; The Signalman by Charles Dickens, The Haunted Doll's House by M R James, The Room In the Tower by E F Benson and The Bus-Conductor by E F Benson were written between the end of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century.
The reader is Andrew Sachs and he makes a fair stab at the narration and although his voice doesn't send the shivers down the spine as some readers can he is not unpleasant to listen to. Unusually for an audiobook the tracks have an underlying music track to help the atmosphere but fortunately it doesn't distract too much from the reader's voice.
I didn't find the stories particularly scary but they do have enough of a 'haunting' feel to them to make for a couple of hours of pleasurable listening, especially with the lights turned low, a nice fire in the grate and a wind whistling around the chimney pots.
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VINE VOICEon 1 November 2012
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Four stories very well recounted by Andrew Sachs, one each from Charles Dickens and M.R.James and two from E.E.Benson.

Each in their own way imparts a very realistic sense of dread, each coming under the category of the 'unexplained'. If one were listening to them at night in front of an open log fire with a glass of something to hand, I suspect that the effect of these stories would be a little more scary than listening to them in the car. But they passed the time well, making the journey finish in no time.

Of the four, I enjoyed The Signalman the most but it was a close run thing with the Haunted Dolls House leaving rather more to the imagination than the others. All-in-all, well worth picking up a copy just in time for the long, dark, winter nights.
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VINE VOICEon 25 October 2012
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
These classic tales are very old but being ghost stories lose nothing in the telling. They are especially suited to an audio book. Andrew Sachs reads them perfectly. They are not scary in the horror film sense as a lot of imagination is required to appreciate the skill with which they are constructed. They shouldn't be judged by modern standards. They are works of literary genius and might have frightened the boots of people years ago but not nowadays. I agree that a little effort to set the atmosphere would help and would add to the sense of fun. Candles,darkness,a howling wind, rain, thunder & lightning, a few ghosts and a glass of good wine would go well with the reading. Enjoy!
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VINE VOICEon 16 November 2012
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I admit to being unsure just how suitable `Manuel' would be for reading `chilling ghost stories' but I need not have worried: his, slightly hesitant, gentle voice brilliantly conveys the necessary uncertainty that these are mere stories and not genuine testimony; there is no fake horror to over egg the pudding. These these CDs encourage the suspension of rational belief and are indeed `chilling' on the listener, to such an extent that while listening, driving alone in the dark, I could feel myself reacting to the fear promulgated by the reading with a quickened heart beat, tingles on the back of my neck and a repeated desire to check the space around me.

There are two CDs with two stories on each, the tracks for each story are noted on the inside of the case so a listener may find the story they desire without having to scan through the disks but there is little in the way of written explanation of the stories or their authors, just a sentence apiece on the box back so the only indication of the period or style of each comes only from listening. This is no drawback though as the stories are a joy to listen to, though I find I did not enjoy them all equally as each brings something different to the series be it mystery, fear, horror or something else so there is something for all tastes even in this limited selection.

I enjoyed listening and was disappointed when coming to the end of the set so I soon found myself listening again. The stories remained good even on a second listening and I find myself compelled to find more stories by these authors, as before this I can claim to only be familiar with Dickens. Andrew Sachs is a fantastic reader and I could not have asked for better.
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VINE VOICEon 13 November 2012
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This collection of ghost stories read by Andrew Sachs represents my first audio book, essentially.

The Signalman -Charles Dickens

A signalman having befriended a stranger tells him of his encounters with a ghost like figure that he has seen afew times near the entrance to the train tunnel. Brilliantly written and fanstically read by Sachs this story also contains a great twist.

The Haunted Dolls House- M.R. James

A gentleman buys a dolls house but its not long til he finds out why it was so cheap. At 1am the house comes to life and tells its terrible tale of greed and murder. The dolls house is so well described, truly spell binding.

The Room in the Tower- E.F. Benson

A man dreams the same dream for years featuring a house owned bhy the Stone family. Years pass and the family in the dream even age but one thing always remains. The man is always given the room in the tower to stay in. In reality the man goes to a friends house and discovers its the same house in the dream and yes, heś given the same room! In this horrible room is a self portrait of the ghastly Julia Stone and sheś been waiting for the man for a long time. By far the scariest story!

The Bus Conductor- E.F. Benson

A man recounts to his friend his experience of seeing a ghost. The year before in the same house the man gets woken up and sees a man driving a hearse, he stops at the front door. A short while later the man tries to get a bus in london and who is the bus conductor but the very man driving the hearse. The weakest of the stories.

Overall a great collection of well written stories. Andrew Sachs is fantastic as the reader and even changes his voice for different characters. A great buy.
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VINE VOICEon 1 November 2012
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a two CD set consisting of four 'ghost' stories, each read by Andrew Sachs (Manuel in Fawlty Towers). The tales are each about thirty minutes long. Sachs is a good reader; he speaks clearly, and manages reasonably well to portray the different characters in the stories.

The first story is 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens; this is probably the best known as a number of adaptations of it have been made, most famously a BBC short film (now available on DVD from the BFI). Some say this was the very first railway ghost story; I can't confirm that, but can agree that it is a very successful atmospheric and psychological story. As are all these tales. They evoke atmospheres rather than explicitly detail shocking events. These are from what some regard as a golden age of ghost writing, roughly from the mid-Victorian period up to 1940. The second story is 'The Haunted Doll's House' by M.R.James, another successful evocation; a very creepy atmosphere. The final two are both by E.F. Benson: 'The Room in the Tower' and 'The Bus Conductor'. This latter story has also been adapted a number of times, most successfully in the classic Ealing film 'Dead of Night'. I actually think that adaptation improves significantly on the original. But provided you realise that the language in all these tales is inevitably rather wordy by present day standards - not a criticism but an observation - I think you will find these a pleasant listen.

Unfortunately the CD documentation gives absolutely no information on the background to these stories and their authors, just a track listing and an extremely brief summary. The BBC can do better than this.

Room for one more inside...
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