Who better to investigate the literary spirit world than that supreme connoisseur of the unexpected, Roald Dahl? Of the many permutations of the macabre or bizarre, Dahl was always especially fascinated by the classic ghost story. As he realtes in the erudite introduction to this volume, he read some 749 supernatural tales at the British Museum Library before selecting the 14 that comprise this anthology. "Spookiness is, after all, the real purpose of the ghost story," Dahl writes. "It should give you the creeps and disturb your thoughts." For this superbly disquieting collection, Dahl offers favorite tales by such masterful storytellers as E. F. Benson, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Rosemary Timperley, and Edith Wharton.
Roald Dahl (1916-1990) was a prickly, colorful character who wrote maliciously funny short stories for adults (The Best of Roald Dahl) as well as better-known works for children (James and the Giant Peach). As he relates in the introduction, he started the research for this book by making a call to the celebrated ghost-story anthologist/writer, Lady Cynthia Asquith. He then went to the British Museum Library, and read a total of 749 tales before selecting 14 for this anthology. His criterion: "Spookiness is, after all, the real purpose of the ghost story. It should give you the creeps and disturb your thoughts." Included here are not only acknowledged classics by Robert Aickman, Edith Wharton, J. S. Le Fanu, and F. Marion Crawford, but also tales by lesser-known writers such as L. P. Hartley, Rosemary Timperley, Jonas Lie, Mary Treadgold, and A. M. Burrage. The Washington Post writes, "Dahl's taste, it will surprise no one, is impeccable."