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The Power of Darkness: Tales of Terror

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The figure of my wife came in... it came straight towards the bed... its wide eyes were open and looked at me with love unspeakable' Edith Nesbit, best known as the author of The Railway Children and other children's classics, was also the mistress of the ghost story and tales of terror. She was able to create genuinely chilling narratives in which the returning dead featu The figure of my wife came in... it came straight towards the bed... its wide eyes were open and looked at me with love unspeakable' Edith Nesbit, best known as the author of The Railway Children and other children's classics, was also the mistress of the ghost story and tales of terror. She was able to create genuinely chilling narratives in which the returning dead feature strongly. Sadly, these stories have been neglected for many years, but now, at last, they are back in print. In this wonderful collection of eerie, flesh-creeping yarns, we encounter love that transcends the grave, reanimated corpses, vampiric vines, vengeful ghosts and other dark delights to make you feel fearful. These vintage spooky stories, tinged with horror, are told in a bold, forthright manner that makes them seem as fresh and unsettling as today's headlines.

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The figure of my wife came in... it came straight towards the bed... its wide eyes were open and looked at me with love unspeakable' Edith Nesbit, best known as the author of The Railway Children and other children's classics, was also the mistress of the ghost story and tales of terror. She was able to create genuinely chilling narratives in which the returning dead featu The figure of my wife came in... it came straight towards the bed... its wide eyes were open and looked at me with love unspeakable' Edith Nesbit, best known as the author of The Railway Children and other children's classics, was also the mistress of the ghost story and tales of terror. She was able to create genuinely chilling narratives in which the returning dead feature strongly. Sadly, these stories have been neglected for many years, but now, at last, they are back in print. In this wonderful collection of eerie, flesh-creeping yarns, we encounter love that transcends the grave, reanimated corpses, vampiric vines, vengeful ghosts and other dark delights to make you feel fearful. These vintage spooky stories, tinged with horror, are told in a bold, forthright manner that makes them seem as fresh and unsettling as today's headlines.

30 review for The Power of Darkness: Tales of Terror

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    The Victorian writer Edith Nesbit is a study in contrasts. Although she was an unconventional woman, a Fabian socialist and a chain-smoker in an age when "well-bred women" did not smoke, she nevertheless--according to Mrs. G.K. Chesterton--suffered from "strange reversions to ultra-respectable standards." Although her marriage to Hubert Bland was superficially traditional, and resulted in five children, it concealed a menage-a-trois: Alice Hoat, the "housekeeper," was her husband's mistress, and The Victorian writer Edith Nesbit is a study in contrasts. Although she was an unconventional woman, a Fabian socialist and a chain-smoker in an age when "well-bred women" did not smoke, she nevertheless--according to Mrs. G.K. Chesterton--suffered from "strange reversions to ultra-respectable standards." Although her marriage to Hubert Bland was superficially traditional, and resulted in five children, it concealed a menage-a-trois: Alice Hoat, the "housekeeper," was her husband's mistress, and two of the five children Nesbit claimed as her own were produced by Hubert and Alice. She was also--contrary to Victorian ideals if not practice--the principal breadwinner of her large family, having to compensate for her unsuccessful free-lance journalist husband Mr. Bland (who strongly opposed women's suffrage and was a big fan of corsets). Edith wrote continually, furiously, for money, producing over sixty books of fiction and poetry for children, and roughly twenty novels and books of short stories for adults. She is best known for her realistic children's novels--"The Railway Children" being the most famous example--but among those books for adults are four collections of tales of terror and horror, a score of which tales are reprinted here. Nesbit is remarkable for the efficiency and economy of her style; her stories are never marred by the myriad garlands of adjectives that habitually obscure the narratives of Victorian magazine fiction. Although it is true that the conceptions underlying these stories are seldom original, Nesbit uses her straightforward style and her gifts for precise diction and detail in order to bring each of them to a sharp, sudden conclusion, so that what has begun in the comforts of convention ends in shock and surprise. Besides her style, another modernist feature of her stories is her narrators. Although they are not precisely unreliable, they are suspect in their assumptions or at the very least self-interested, and the reader is forced to play close attention to the manner of narration, and try to look beyond it to the truth. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of these stories, however, is their over-arching theme. Most of these encounters with terror and the supernatural are also crucial and defining moments in the encounter of two people--usually lovers or possible lovers--and the nature of these encounters leave them forever changed. The classic "Man-size in Marble" is an excellent example, but so are "From the Dead," "The Violet Car," "John Charrington's Wedding," "The Pavilion," "Hurst of Hurstcote," "The Ebony Frame," "The Shadow," "The Power of Darkness," and "The Letter in Brown Ink," each of which possesses moments of genuine terror, as well as "The Haunted Inheritance" and "The Detective," two sentimental, less terrifying examples of the theme, which are also effective in their own sweet way. The half dozen or so stories that do not share this theme are also worth reading. All in all, this is an admirable selection.

  2. 5 out of 5

    mairywo

    A collection of 20 ghost stories by an author best known for her childrens' books. Some are scary, some are dark, some are just plain weird. Most are about men and what happens to them when they don't act according to some sort of „norm“. As we learn in the introduction Nesbit had to share her husband with another woman and even raised her child. She did so without complaining, but I believe her unhappiness comes through in her ghost stories where she punishes men whether they have done somethin A collection of 20 ghost stories by an author best known for her childrens' books. Some are scary, some are dark, some are just plain weird. Most are about men and what happens to them when they don't act according to some sort of „norm“. As we learn in the introduction Nesbit had to share her husband with another woman and even raised her child. She did so without complaining, but I believe her unhappiness comes through in her ghost stories where she punishes men whether they have done something wrong or not. Today the stories don't seem that scary anymore because similar stories have been written since then, but in her time they must have been quite unique, especially written by a women.[return]There are stories about zombies, haunted houses, ghosts and vampiric vines among many others.[return]All in all, it's a very good and interesting collection and I like the short story format. It warns you on the cover not to read them before going to bed, and some may haunt you. I read one story every day on the train and it was the perfect book for that. I'd recommend it to everyone who loves a good ghost story although it sometimes shows its age.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Chloé

    I actually really enjoyed this. I thought that because there were so many stories in here, I wouldn't remember any of them - but when I looked back, I did! So they must have made an impression. It's interesting to see that Nesbit wrote in many different genres, and it is a shame that these were previously neglected. Written in a realistic, straight-forward style, which conveys her uncoventional and independent attitude. These stories definitely seem to be ahead of their time, and less genteel, an I actually really enjoyed this. I thought that because there were so many stories in here, I wouldn't remember any of them - but when I looked back, I did! So they must have made an impression. It's interesting to see that Nesbit wrote in many different genres, and it is a shame that these were previously neglected. Written in a realistic, straight-forward style, which conveys her uncoventional and independent attitude. These stories definitely seem to be ahead of their time, and less genteel, and therefore much more appealing to a modern reader. Unbecomingly (if that is a word) of a Victorian lady, she touches upon the subjects of eroticism and immorality through these characters. My favourites would have to be The Violet Car, The Pavilion, Hurst of Hurstcote, In The Dark (they go to Bruges!), The Head, The Ebony Frame, The Shadow, The Power of Darkness and The Haunted Inheritance. Anyway, I was really rather inspired.

  4. 5 out of 5

    James Hold

    THE POWER OF DARKNESS: TALES OF TERROR by Edith Nesbit. If there is one thing I've grown tired of it's introductions like the one in this 2006 Edith Nesbit collection where the fellow says, 'I will close with this piece of advice for novice Nesbit reader: do not attempt to sample these stories alone at night by candlelight!' I mean, come on; really? First off, who reads by candlelight? And second, we see graphic gore in movies and extreme violence on daily TV so the idea that a Victorian period THE POWER OF DARKNESS: TALES OF TERROR by Edith Nesbit. If there is one thing I've grown tired of it's introductions like the one in this 2006 Edith Nesbit collection where the fellow says, 'I will close with this piece of advice for novice Nesbit reader: do not attempt to sample these stories alone at night by candlelight!' I mean, come on; really? First off, who reads by candlelight? And second, we see graphic gore in movies and extreme violence on daily TV so the idea that a Victorian period ghost story is somehow supposed to frighten us is ludicrous. Heck, I face more scarier situations just driving on the freeway than anything in Nesbit's book. Stupid book intros do a definite disservice to otherwise fine collections. Which is what we have here. I'd never read Nesbit before but this is a wonderful set of tales by a wonderful writer. They are varied, covering many areas, and including some humorous entries ('Number 17'). Nesbit writes in a remarkably modern style; not at all in the Henry James school of taking ten paragraphs to say what could be done in one, but direct and to the point. She does occasionally slip into EF Benson mode where she adds more description than is necessary to the tale, but those instances are rare and they still present a good story. A lot of the stories mine what are very familiar themes nowadays and I'm sure there are many 'Twilight Zone' types who have borrowed from her works without giving due credit. All in all a highly recommended volume. I only wish those clowns who write the intros would look at the calendar and realize what century we're in so they could stop telling us how these old ghost stories are going to 'frighten' us. News flash -- they don't. Entertain, definitely; but frighten? Give us a break!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Herman

    I didn’t know anything of Edith Newbit till I read this book The Power of Darkness Tales of Terror. Stellar story telling. I thought the writers of that century the ones I’ve read, Poe, Hugo, Conrad, and now Nesbit they all serve up a rich broth of flowing language but Ms. Nesbit who is especially rich in her detail and descriptive eloquence. “There was a woman in it, of course, and money, and a friend, and regrets and embarrassments –and all of these reached out tendrils that wove and interwove I didn’t know anything of Edith Newbit till I read this book The Power of Darkness Tales of Terror. Stellar story telling. I thought the writers of that century the ones I’ve read, Poe, Hugo, Conrad, and now Nesbit they all serve up a rich broth of flowing language but Ms. Nesbit who is especially rich in her detail and descriptive eloquence. “There was a woman in it, of course, and money, and a friend, and regrets and embarrassments –and all of these reached out tendrils that wove and interwove till they made a puzzle-problem of which heart and brain were now weary. I t was a s though his life depended on his deciphering the straggling characters traced by some spider who, having fallen into the ink-well, had dragged clogged legs in a black zigzag across his map of the world”… sometimes I found it a bit vague now for who remembers some of these terms from common usage a hundred and thirty years ago but not any more. “I’ll fetch you a cordial. But I advise you to try and walk, That porte coche`re is, unfortunately not very strong.” Still her short stories were wonderful sometimes, very modern sounding like a good script for a dark shadows or twilight zone story. Other times unique, certainly a foundation stone of good dark gothic horror going keep this one on my shelf for future reference a nice discovery to find her work it aged well and she should be more recognized for excellence of it all. Four stars.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Hugo Emanuel

    One of the least engaging collections of supernatural tales I've read so far. The stories fail to both chill and avoid the clichés of the genre. Despite the character's backgrounds and settings of the stories being quite diverse, the overall plots are quite common, which would be quite all right if the prose conveyed any kind of suspense or dread. Instead, we have somewhat fleshed-out characters brought to life by a prose which seems more preoccupied with being whimsy and witty than horrific or One of the least engaging collections of supernatural tales I've read so far. The stories fail to both chill and avoid the clichés of the genre. Despite the character's backgrounds and settings of the stories being quite diverse, the overall plots are quite common, which would be quite all right if the prose conveyed any kind of suspense or dread. Instead, we have somewhat fleshed-out characters brought to life by a prose which seems more preoccupied with being whimsy and witty than horrific or suspenseful. The author's attempts at science-fiction oriented horror (á la Jekyll and Hyde) are particularly bad and silly. However the stories are not awful, it's just that most of them are tremendously mediocre. They are quite readable but ultimately forgettable, with a few notable exceptions ("Man-Size in Marble", "The Head", "The Pavilion", "The Ebony Frame", "The Shadow" and the Bierce-late-like "The Power Of Darkness) . I usually read only one book at a time. Well, I was so disenchanted with this collection that I interrupted it's reading, picking it up in between two novels (Maupassant "Bel-Ami" and Golding's "the Spire"), both of which I finished before "Tales Of Darkness". However, considering how cheap the collection is I do not consider it a bad investment. It is well worth the three pounds it costs, since there are quite a few gems in it and there are only a couple of stories that are downright awful (The Five Senses" and "The Haunted House" - which is silly beyond description).

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tom Mathews

    Perhaps best know for her Boxcar Children series, E. Nesbit also wrote many entertaining ghost stories. The stories are fairly lightweight, similar to what one would expect from an episode of The Twilight Zone. My thanks to the good folks at The Literary Darkness reading group for introducing me to this and many other examples of literary dark fiction. There is no other group at Goodreads as capable of picking apart a book and helping readers glean from it all they can.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shawn Birss

    This recent collection of works by Edith Nesbit contains the following stories, in this order: Man-Size in Marble Uncle Abraham's Romance From the Dead The Three Drugs The Violet Car John Charrington's Wedding The Pavilion Hurst of Hurstcote In the Dark The Head The Mystery of the Semi-detached The Ebony Frame The Five Senses The Shadow The Power of Darkness The Haunted Inheritance The Letter in Brown Ink The House of Silence The Haunted House The Detective But for The Detective, I was able to find them all online, This recent collection of works by Edith Nesbit contains the following stories, in this order: Man-Size in Marble Uncle Abraham's Romance From the Dead The Three Drugs The Violet Car John Charrington's Wedding The Pavilion Hurst of Hurstcote In the Dark The Head The Mystery of the Semi-detached The Ebony Frame The Five Senses The Shadow The Power of Darkness The Haunted Inheritance The Letter in Brown Ink The House of Silence The Haunted House The Detective But for The Detective, I was able to find them all online, as they are in the public domain and accessible from many different sources. I came to Nesbit through an online reading group. I am very glad to have been introduced to her work in gothic fiction. Through this collection, I would say I prefer he even to Poe, in this genre. Like most stories as old as these, there isn't necessarily a lot that is going to literally scare a contemporary reader. However, a patient reader will find Nesbit's atmospheric storytelling delightfully unsettling. Her introductions are fantastic. There wasn't one story in the collection that took me more than a single sitting, so engrossed was I in each narrative. I usually would end up reading a second or third before putting it down. A lot of physical objects are given life or power in Nesbit's stories. In these, she reminds me most of Poe. However, in The Third Drug and The Five Senses, she has us question the nature of reality and perception. In these, she reminded me of shades of Lovecraft. It was these two, along with John Charrington's Wedding, in The Dark, The Ebony Frame, and The Power of Darkness that were my favourite. Though very short, I also really enjoyed Uncle Abraham's a Romance. I was also reading a contemporary gothic novel, The Little Stranger, for most of the time that I read the stories in this collection. Nesbit's work really helped me appreciate Sarah Waters' recent haunted house novel, as I was reminded of the genre in its classic form, and could see how well she brought it into our century. Unfortunately, Nesbit did not fare as well in the comparison. Unlike rare exceptions like Frankenstein, this collection does feel very much like other books of its time, one that has lost some of the immediate impact it would have held when these were first published. A thoughtful reader can tease out the feelings and implications of these stories, and they are an easy and enjoyable read. However, they do wear the patina of their age that puts them one step removed from and contemporary reader. Like a beautiful old object behind glass, they absolutely can, and should, be enjoyed. But they are unlikely to move a reader as powerfully as works of similar quality published today. Recommended to readers of gothic fiction, especially Poe and M.R. James. ☠ Ebook (Public domain short stories gathered from various online sources, and read in the order as published in) The Power of Darkness: Tales of Terror Wordsworth Editions, 2006 Three Stars January 30-February 10, 2018 ☠

  9. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    Another fantastic collection of late Victorian supernatural fiction. I would rank Edith Nesbit higher than average when it comes to the genre. Her prose is sharp, modern(ist), and can be witty as well as dark. “Man-Size in Marble” and “John Charrington’s Wedding” have been frequently anthologized and rightfully so for they are indisputable classics. But several stories in this collection are just as good or arguably better than those. “The Ebony Frame,” “From the Dead,” “The Shadow,” and “The Pa Another fantastic collection of late Victorian supernatural fiction. I would rank Edith Nesbit higher than average when it comes to the genre. Her prose is sharp, modern(ist), and can be witty as well as dark. “Man-Size in Marble” and “John Charrington’s Wedding” have been frequently anthologized and rightfully so for they are indisputable classics. But several stories in this collection are just as good or arguably better than those. “The Ebony Frame,” “From the Dead,” “The Shadow,” and “The Pavilion” are excellent variations on familiar gothic tropes and themes while “Hurst of Hurstcote” may stand as my favorite story of the entire collection. Other memorable tales such as “Uncle Abraham’s Romance” and “The Haunted Inheritance” have an enjoyable romantic quality. “The Three Drugs” and “The Five Senses” could be classed as early science fiction tales in the vein of “Frankenstein” and “...Jekyll and Hyde.” I was surprised by “The Head” and “The Power of Darkness,” which revolve around the uncanny effects of art and waxwork sculptures. Certain aspects of these two stories somewhat anticipate the weird surrealist style of Thomas Ligotti and feel very ahead of their time. Edith Nesbit is one of the best ghost story writers from this period. If you like this era of supernatural fiction, this collection is essential.

  10. 5 out of 5

    trina

    my main takeaway from this is that people went mad reaaaally easily back in victorian times. one little corpse, or one little ghost, and folks were left drooling, gibbering, and ready for the asylum. otherwise, these stories were pretty good. some spooky, some funny. i think the real horror of them has been diluted because a lot of these scenarios have become cliches, but at the time they were written they must have sent more than a few people to the madhouse. this book is also notable to me per my main takeaway from this is that people went mad reaaaally easily back in victorian times. one little corpse, or one little ghost, and folks were left drooling, gibbering, and ready for the asylum. otherwise, these stories were pretty good. some spooky, some funny. i think the real horror of them has been diluted because a lot of these scenarios have become cliches, but at the time they were written they must have sent more than a few people to the madhouse. this book is also notable to me personally as the first book i began and finished in the time since my son was born. sure, it took me two weeks instead of two days, but hey! it's a start.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    This was O.K...not outstanding but a fair collection of macabre tales and hit and miss quota wise..well significantly more hits than misses. In honesty the less supernatural tales are the more fun as there's a cheeky deceit in the way of a couple of tales which I admired for their cleverness..much more so than the run of the mill departed lover returning tale or ghostly prescience ones. Not bad at all the tales recall Roald Dahls adult tales more than say Lovecraft or Poe but I found this book wor This was O.K...not outstanding but a fair collection of macabre tales and hit and miss quota wise..well significantly more hits than misses. In honesty the less supernatural tales are the more fun as there's a cheeky deceit in the way of a couple of tales which I admired for their cleverness..much more so than the run of the mill departed lover returning tale or ghostly prescience ones. Not bad at all the tales recall Roald Dahls adult tales more than say Lovecraft or Poe but I found this book worthwhile all told.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Charlene Morris

    I did try to include where the original printing of the story was and year as reference for others. Man-Size in Marble (December 1887- Home Chimes Magazine/ "Grim Tales" 1893) Uncle Abraham's Romance ("Grim Tales" 1893) From the Dead ("Grim Tales" 1893) The Three Drugs (February 1908 Strand Magazine) The Violet Car ("Fear" 1910) John Charrington's Wedding ("Grim Tales" 1893) The Pavilion Hurst of Hurstcote (1893) In the Dark ("Fear" 1910) The Head The Mystery of the Semi-detached ("Grim Tales" 1893) The Eb I did try to include where the original printing of the story was and year as reference for others. Man-Size in Marble (December 1887- Home Chimes Magazine/ "Grim Tales" 1893) Uncle Abraham's Romance ("Grim Tales" 1893) From the Dead ("Grim Tales" 1893) The Three Drugs (February 1908 Strand Magazine) The Violet Car ("Fear" 1910) John Charrington's Wedding ("Grim Tales" 1893) The Pavilion Hurst of Hurstcote (1893) In the Dark ("Fear" 1910) The Head The Mystery of the Semi-detached ("Grim Tales" 1893) The Ebony Frame ("Grim Tales" 1893) The Five Senses ("Fear" 1910) The Shadow The Power of Darkness ("Man and Maid" 1906) The Haunted Inheritance ("Man and Maid" 1906) The Letter in Brown Ink The House of Silence ("Man and Maid" 1906) The Haunted House The Detective

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    E. Nesbit, who is best remembered as a children's author, wrote many stories of mystery and the supernatural and this collection probably represents her best. This collection is worth reading for fans of Victorian/early 20th century stories of this genre. There's nothing particularly scary or chilling in this collection, and many of the stories are not supernatural at all. Often the central theme is unrequited or otherwise unsuccessful love or romance.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marina

    I hadn't read ghost stories for a while and I made no mistake when I chose this collection of tales by Edith Nesbit in preparation for Hallow'een. They're quite scary, albeit they lack the graphic violence typical of modern horror. So you won't find gore, but you'll find ghosts galore!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Margaret M.

    My Goodreads group had this author/title on a read list - I am smitten! Just what I wanted - lovely ghost stories and intelligent writing. I am going to read more by this author for sure.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Realini

    The Violet Car by E. Nesbit On Madness, Visions, Imagination and Ghosts This will be more of a guessing note than a real resume, or rendition of the story. I can’t tell exactly if there is a violet car, if it was in the imagination of the sick patient, his hallucinations became contagious and here I am, doubting- was there such a car? Actually I like lavender and the idea of a violet car, although preposterous to you, seems rather enticing to me. But then, I did see an analyst, so there you have it - The Violet Car by E. Nesbit On Madness, Visions, Imagination and Ghosts This will be more of a guessing note than a real resume, or rendition of the story. I can’t tell exactly if there is a violet car, if it was in the imagination of the sick patient, his hallucinations became contagious and here I am, doubting- was there such a car? Actually I like lavender and the idea of a violet car, although preposterous to you, seems rather enticing to me. But then, I did see an analyst, so there you have it - What do you expect of me?? I say analyst, for it seems to encompass more areas of expertise and I can’t remember if she was a psychiatrist, psychologist or whatever. Reading this you may reach for the phone and dial 911/112: - This guy can’t even tell if it was a shrink or a vet he saw - He’s mad as hell and he can’t take it anymore – like the man from The Network, directed by Sydney Lumet… It was many years ago, my relationship with the then Miss Romania- today’s Madame Pensioner- was finished and I was so depressed that Madi, my sister who is a doctor, took me to see a specialist. The Violet Car brought back memories of those days because in this interesting short story, the main character, who is a nurse, doesn’t know for quite a while- or is it to the end- who is the crazy one. This how I felt when I saw the head doctor - Was I crazy, or the others were? When you are in love, the world acts weird. To back up a little and return to the story of the violet car: A nurse gets down to this farm to “help with a mental case „and for me the tale revolves around: - Who is the mental case? - Is the nurse contaminated? Am I made crazy too? - Or had I been before and the Violet Car just makes me understand it In another way, this short saga feels like the Monty Python War joke: - In order to win the war, they came up with a joke that made one laugh - And laugh, and laugh, again and again until…one died The vision seems to be seen by one personage, then another and now… It seems I see a Violet Car. It is also like the example Martin Seligman of the way the mind works sometimes: - Try Not to think of a White Elephant and see what happens Where is the boundary between a vivid imagination and madness? I live in a society which is mad…not like in Mad Max (I and II), but tortured, brain washed, flooded with communist propaganda the community I live in came to have twisted moral standards and misinterpretations of achievement. It feels like money is the supreme goal, no matter how one gets it, parliamentarians, instead of representing the crème de la crème, they confirm every week that they epitomize the worst features- they keep out of jail colleagues that the prosecutors want behind bars. This is not the only population with a mental issue: Look at the approval ratings of Putin, after he swallowed the Crimea. Over 90% of Russians are in favor and approve of all that happened and is going on in Another country, which is attacked by stealth by a sick people. This is attenuating circumstance, otherwise they would 90% of them be just a bunch of violent criminals.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    With her unconventional private life (sharing her husband with another woman and keeping on good terms with both) is it any wonder Edith often turned to the fantastic and macabre for inspiration. I don't think there is a tame tale among this collection. Some of them actual kept me up at night!! Where to start - "From the Dead" starts conventionally enough with the narrator marrying his best friend's sister when he finds out his fiancée loves someone else but when his new wife confesses it was all part o With her unconventional private life (sharing her husband with another woman and keeping on good terms with both) is it any wonder Edith often turned to the fantastic and macabre for inspiration. I don't think there is a tame tale among this collection. Some of them actual kept me up at night!! Where to start - "From the Dead" starts conventionally enough with the narrator marrying his best friend's sister when he finds out his fiancée loves someone else but when his new wife confesses it was all part of a plan to trick him into marrying her, well "hell hath no fury like a tricked man"!!! "The Three Drugs" has a young man running from robbers who stumbles into a house owned by a Dr. Frankenstein type who is trying to create the first Superman!! "The Violet Car" is narrated by a young nurse who has been sent to look after an elderly couple, one of which is mad - but which one? "The Pavilion" is about two young men who agree to spend the night in a creepy pavilion which has a history of mysterious deaths. There are others, equally ghastly - premature burial, a night in a wax works, even a house of silence - it's all here. Definitely not to be read in the dark!!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    Includes some genuinely spooky stories that are week and is definitely worth a read. Nicely done social commentary mixed in with products of their time as pertains to race and ethnicity, which make it more of an appealing read for horror and dark fantasy fans interested in ghost/horror stories from the late Victorian period. This goes for readers interested in discovering more work by women writers from this time period - ghost stories kept food on the table for many of the great literary names, Includes some genuinely spooky stories that are week and is definitely worth a read. Nicely done social commentary mixed in with products of their time as pertains to race and ethnicity, which make it more of an appealing read for horror and dark fantasy fans interested in ghost/horror stories from the late Victorian period. This goes for readers interested in discovering more work by women writers from this time period - ghost stories kept food on the table for many of the great literary names, including Alcott, Nesbit and others. But these are much better written than many others and deserve to be read and reread by new audiences.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gavin

    Most of the tales in this collection are fairly standard of their type and quite enjoyable. There are a few, however, which might best have been left on the scrap heap. The compiler's intentions are to showcase Ms. Nesbit as not just a childrens author, and as that it works just fine. There are many other short stories by Ms. Nesbit in a similar vein to those collected here that might have merited inclusion over some stories that did make it in. The contents list is completely out of whack, one s Most of the tales in this collection are fairly standard of their type and quite enjoyable. There are a few, however, which might best have been left on the scrap heap. The compiler's intentions are to showcase Ms. Nesbit as not just a childrens author, and as that it works just fine. There are many other short stories by Ms. Nesbit in a similar vein to those collected here that might have merited inclusion over some stories that did make it in. The contents list is completely out of whack, one story not being listed at all, and the page numbering being wrong throughout. It's something to read if gothic short stories are your thing (I tend to like them), but best avoided if not.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mengxing Fu

    It is said J.K Rowling loves E. Nesbit's stories and I totally understand why after reading this book. The same crisp humour, real horror, accelerating suspension. A good read! It seems that Nesbit is particularly fond of two men falling in love with one woman or two women over one man subject. I wonder whether it has something to do with her own life story: living under the same roof with her husband and his mistress. There must be stiffled jealousy and resentment, narrowly escaping into the gh It is said J.K Rowling loves E. Nesbit's stories and I totally understand why after reading this book. The same crisp humour, real horror, accelerating suspension. A good read! It seems that Nesbit is particularly fond of two men falling in love with one woman or two women over one man subject. I wonder whether it has something to do with her own life story: living under the same roof with her husband and his mistress. There must be stiffled jealousy and resentment, narrowly escaping into the ghost stories.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gracious Plum

    I've been reading this book on and off for months now. some of the tales were quite good, I liked the one about the car and the statues the came to life. some of them became quite similar. none of the stories were particularly terrifying but I suppose they would've been back in the day. I ended up giving this book to my dad as he didn't have anything to read so I didn't get to read the last few stories

  22. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    I've never read any of Edith Nesbit's better-known children's books, but these short stories (mainly ghost stories, though not always with real ghosts) were well-written and atmospheric, and often had twists and unexpected endings. She was weakest when she took a stab a science fiction, with mysterious potions a la Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but for the most part it was a very solid and enjoyable collection.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ade Couper

    The 1st thing I have to say is "ye gods! why did no-one tell me about this before?" Ok , Edith Nesbit , otherwise known as EE Nesbit (writer of "the Railway Children", "5 Children & It", & "The Phoenix & the Carpet")also wrote ghost stories - & they're bloody brilliant! I'd put her on a par with M R James , frankly. There's not a duff tale in this collection ; I will single out "The shadow" as 1 of the scariest stories I have ever read though...... Buy it - & prepare to be scar The 1st thing I have to say is "ye gods! why did no-one tell me about this before?" Ok , Edith Nesbit , otherwise known as EE Nesbit (writer of "the Railway Children", "5 Children & It", & "The Phoenix & the Carpet")also wrote ghost stories - & they're bloody brilliant! I'd put her on a par with M R James , frankly. There's not a duff tale in this collection ; I will single out "The shadow" as 1 of the scariest stories I have ever read though...... Buy it - & prepare to be scared.....

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ruby Hollyberry

    Sort of 3.5 stars here. I really liked some stories, and others were too weak and ladylike. It was more enjoyable for the fact that not all the stories were ghost stories. Some are ghost stories, some are other kinds of horror, and some start out looking like ghost stories and end up humorous instead. The funny ones were some of the best of the bunch!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    Strong addition to my ghost story collection. Not sure why Man Size in Marble is the most famous among them as it's one of the weaker, more predictable, contributions. Nesbit excels at creating a creepy mood with her scenic descriptions. A treat to see another side of her from my childhood favorites, The Book of Dragons, and Five Children & It.

  26. 5 out of 5

    David

    Nesbit really had the gift for stirring a bit of real charm and humor into her unsettling stories: try "In the Dark," for a good example. I'm going to read this one for our Thrilling Tales adult storytime podcast for May, and it should be spooky fun.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chiefdonkey Bradey

    I shall not easily forget the creeping dread and pitiless conclusion of "Man Sized in Marble"

  28. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    If you like ghost stories, well worth reading.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Hanna

    If I could give tis book 3.5 stars it would be the most accurate rating. Some stories are very good, some - a bit disappointing.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sebadiaz

    Too old school for anyone except retrohorror fans but a few stories are well written. I recommend the following three as standouts: Man-Siza Marble, the Three drugs, and the Shadow.

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