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on 18 July 2014
I got into EF Benson with "The Room in the Tower" - an effective but basic spook-story, the first in this volume. By good luck or chance it was a reading comprehension text at high school in a great textbook called "The Dark", and I never forgot it. I spent years trying to find it and when I found it, I found ...this:

Like many so-called "Ghost Story" Collections, this is a little misleading. What we have here is a bumper collection of tales from an assured and skillful write which could be best filed under "Weird Fiction". Vampires, ghosts, satanists, mad scientists, the returning dead, seances, creepy wicker-mannish hares and "local shop" weirdness - you name it, its in here. Benson seems to be the hub in the weird fiction wheel touching on subjects dear to writers as diverse as Arthur Machen, HP Lovecraft, MR James, Algernon Blackwood and Poe, almost as if he was setting out to write a pastiche collection when in fact he often pre-empted these writers. . If you have a taste for early twentieth century supernatural writing at all you will be pleasantly entertained. Benson's range is his great asset and i found the shifting tones, moods and themes refreshing. (MR James is my favourite weird writer but he does use the same kind of set-ups often - I'm not complaining)

Tales of note are the Blackwood-esqe "The Man Who Went Too Far", the chillingly pagan "Gavon's Eve", the frankly horrific but very well executed occult shocker "The Sanctuary", and a magnificently atmospheric and odd little witch "The Wishing Well".

If you long for a triangulation of the edwardian dining room, intellectual free-thought and real chills then at £2.99 it's a no-brainer (with apologies to the poor creature in "And the dead spake" ... you'll see.)
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on 29 October 2012
Wordsworth Editions! How much I love you! Let me count the ways... Or rather, I won't because it would take me forever to achieve the proper numerals.
This dirt cheap volume has a mammoth number of 720 pages and there is not a single bad sentence on it. E.F. Benson's ghostly tales are varied as they are enjoyable. Ghosts, Psychic Vampirism, Healers, Witches, Reincarnated souls, human sacrifices brought on by ghosts, dangerous and secret cults, Vampires, Elementals, Charlatan Psychics, haunted automobiles and even giant monkeys populate these pages of absolutely engrossing supernatural tales. Even the moods that pervade these stories are quite varied; some are very bleak and grisly considering the period at which they were written, others humorous and easy going. The worst that can be said about the stories in this collection is that in most of them the main character's backgrounds are all too similar; they are usually somewhat wealthy gentlemen who upon vacationing in the countryside or small towns stumble upon supernatural entities. Also, some may have a problem with the fact that ghosts are the most frequent entity to feature amongst these stories. However these are very minor gripes considering the vast array of creatures that "haunt" these pages and the quality of these stories. My personal favourites are "The Room in the Tower", "How Fear Departed from the Long Gallery", "Caterpillars", "The Outcast", "The Face", "At the Farmhouse", "The House with the Brick Kiln" and my personal favourite, "The Temple". Out of all of these flesh-creeping tales there was only one story I didn't care for (The Dust-Cloud) and considering there are over fifty of them in this volume I'd say it's bound to satisfy the avid supernatural tales aficcionado.
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on 1 January 2013
Warning: this review contains spoilers.

In the 1980s, E.F.Benson's 'Mapp and Lucia' stories were rediscovered by readers, due in no small part, to an excellent series broadcast on the UK's Channel 4. However, during his lifetime, Benson (1867-1940) was equally well known for his ghost stories, and they are now re-published by Wordsworth, having been out of print for a number of years.

Most of the stories are told in the first person by an upper class gentleman of independent means. Some of my favourites are 'The Confession of Charles Linkworth' in which a ghost communicates by telephone; 'The Terror by night', where a sense of smell plays an important part; 'The Cat' in which an artist is unnerved by the animal as he paints a portrait and 'The Other Bed', set in a snowbound hotel in Switzerland.

Benson is particularly good at evoking atmosphere by describing weather conditions as in 'The Gardener', 'Home, sweet home' and 'The Farmhouse'. 'The Shootings of Achnaleish' is more of a folk tale, set in Scotland, where visitors are made unwelcome by the locals. 'Mr Tilly's Séance' is lighter in tone and told from the viewpoint of a recently deceased person. 'The Face' is an evocative description of a nightmare. The only story that didn't really work for me was 'The Man who went too far'.

In my opinion, the best of the collection is 'Pirates', an elegaic minor masterpiece which lingers in the mind.

The title of my review are the words uttered by the eponymous hero of 'The Bus-Conductor', which was adapted as one of the sequences in the 1945 film 'Dead of Night'.

The book is a fabulous bargain, containing 54 stories in 700+ pages.

If you only know E.F.Benson as a writer of entertaining, camp, light fiction, then you are in for a considerable and pleasant surprise. 'Night Terrors' is an impressive body of work and a major contribution to the genre. I do hope that this new publication will lead to a re-evaluation of E.F.Benson as a writer of ghost stories.
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on 15 September 2012
High praise to Wordsworth publishers.
Not only have they collected the wonderful stories of Mr Benson (over 700 pages worth) but they have done so at such a cheap price it would be rude not to buy it.
The stories are;
The Room In The Tower
The Dust-Cloud
Gavon's Eve
The Confessions Of Charles Linkworth
At Abdul Ali's Grave
The Shooting Of Achnaleish
How Fear Departed From The Long Gallery
The Cat
The Bus-Conductor
The Man Who Went Too Far
Between The Lights
Outside The Door
The Terror By Night
The Other Bed
The Thing In The Hall
The House With The Brick Kiln
'And The Dead Spake-'
The Outcast
The Horror Horn
Negotium Perambulans
At The Farmhouse
Inscrutable Decrees
The Gardener
Mr Tilly's Seance
Mrs Amworth
In The Tube
Roderick's Story
The Face
Bagnell Terrace
A Tale Of An Empty House
Naboth's Vineyard
Home, Sweet Home
'And No Bird Sings'
The Corner House
The Temple
The Step
The Bed By The Window
James Lamp
The Dance
The Hanging of Alfred Wadham
The Wishing-Well
The Bath-Chair
Christopher Comes Back
The Sanctuary
Thursday Evenings
The Psychical Mallards.

So that's 54 wonderfully spooky stories (plus an introduction) all for less than a pint of beer.

Highly recommended.
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on 30 March 2017
Great book, good price, good selection of tales. Sat around one cold evening reading them out loud to the extended family, had a great time!
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on 5 October 2015
With the exception of M.R. James, who was an influence, I think Benson is, undoubtedly, one of the best ghost story writers I have read. His grasp of atmosphere and small simple chilling details, as in 'The Confession of Charles Linkworty' and 'The Room in the Tower' is stunning. Powerful, and vividly terrifying, I am reading and savouring one every night, and saving a few for Halloween. A wonderful discovery!
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on 20 July 2017
Superb collection of stories--perfect for dark winter nights!
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on 3 February 2015
If you are a fan of Classic Ghost Stories and M. R . James, then you should give this collection a try. Atmospheric, Chilling, Horrific and Quaint are just a couple of words that come to mind reading these stories. A really good read for fans of Classic Ghost Stories in my opinion.
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on 7 October 2015
this book is just as good as I remembered and I am glad I sent for it ,the book is one I read in my teens and was the start of my love of horror ,scfi and anything other worldy that came along ,so, still a good read sueb
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on 8 April 2014
Great collection of ghost stories in the classic style. I really enjoyed reading them, great value for money if you you enjoy spooky tales in the MR James tradition. Definitely recommend this book.
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