Short Story Reviews: "Ghostly Tales: Spine-Chilling Stories of the Victorian Age"

Updated: Jan 19

"This collection of tales will transport you to a time when staircases creaked in old manor houses, and a candle could be blown out by a gust of wind, or by a passing ghost. Penned by some of the greatest Victorian novelists and masters of the ghost story genre, these stories come alive alongside exquisitely eerie art in this special illustrated edition."

Note: When I do short story book reviews, I will only be doing one story at a time because I have other books I need to move on to (and a majority of short story collections can sometimes have 30 or more stories in them!). These will be quick reviews because they are short stories. So, without further ado, the reviews.

"Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad" by M.R. James

A professor decides to go on vacation to work on his golf game while doing a little side work in the town's archaeology, but when he digs up an old whistle and blows into it, he instantly regrets what the whistle brings.

Liked: the buildup to the climax was done masterfully, and the superstition that was used as the premise of the story

Disliked: that the ending is never explained

"The Old Nurse's Story" by Elizabeth Gaskell

When a governess and her ward are taken to a haunted house, they found out that everyone has to pay for their misdeeds.

Liked: the perfect example of what Victorian ghost stories were

Disliked: Nothing; I really enjoyed this one

"The Signalman" by Charles Dickens

A railroad signalman tells a co-worker that he is seeing a ghost that warns him of future accidents, but his co-worker can't tell if he's telling the truth or losing his mind.

Liked: an excellent ghost story; I wish it were an entire novel

Disliked: nothing

"The Body-Snatcher" by Robert Louis Stevenson

When a medical student realizes that the 'donated' bodies are murder victims, he's not so sure he can live with the consequences.

Liked: the ending wasn't predictable

Disliked: at the start, there's a little confusion among who is who

" The Captain of the Pole-Star" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A group of whalers are stuck in the middle of the ocean because of ice burgs, but the ice is the least of their problems when they begin to hear and see supernatural things out on the ice.

Liked: the plot of the story was really good

Disliked: the run-on sentences, some of the accents were hard to decipher, and the ending wasn't explained

"The Phantom Coach" by Amelia B. Edwards

A young man loses his way while on a hunt, but soon finds help with an old man that is convinced the supernatural is real, and when he senses the young man does not, he puts him up against forces from the other side.

Liked: the story never lulled, and the descriptions of the undead were amazing

Disliked: nothing, I thought the story was really good

"The Screaming Skull" by F. Marion Crawford

When the friend of a family finds a skull in the latter's home, he begins to question whether or not the husband murdered his wife.

Liked: I love that this story is actually based off an urban legend

Disliked: the way the author kept breaking away from the story to talk to the audience; it caused the flow of the story to stop

The Victorian-era authors knew how to write a ghost story. I absolutely loved this collection of short stories. I highly recommend this book to people who love a good 'ol fashioned ghost story (not the gory ones we have today).

My overall rating:

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