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I read this one years ago and don't remember much about it, so I must reread it at some stage. Never a chore to reread some M.R. James. I wonder if he ever wrote any travel memoirs? I suppose not but they would have been wonderful. Such an interesting man. Nice post.


Oneof Susan Hill's stories is based on a M.R. James story. The Woman in Black. I have the collected stories of M.R. James but other than that on which Hill based her story (Whistle and I'll come to you, my lad) I haven't read any others. it was atmopsheric but not much more. This sounds much better. I like a bit of bite. I might read it very soon as well and check out the movie.

Liz F

I've read quite a few of M R James's stories over the years but I don't recall having read this one. My copy of his collected ghost stories has just come to light (when I was looking for something else which is sadly still missing)so I will put it in my workbag to take to the office which is where I always read books that are even vaguely scary.
Sometimes it is better not to revisit TV programmes that you enjoyed years ago as unlike books the standards of technology have changed so much that they very rarely live up to our memories of them!


Looking at his bibliography it appears he wrote a couple of guidebooks "Abbeys" and "Suffolk and Norfolk"--not the same thing really as a travel narrative but they might be interesting to look at. He does seem really interesting. I always put off reading his stories thinking I need to tackle the whole book (both books really) which is actually pretty silly, since just one story is always enjoyable.


I didn't know that Hill's story was based on one by MR James--now I am going to have to read that one, too. It is in one of the two books. He does atmosphere very well, but looking back on my posts from other stories I think they aren't all that scary these days. I did like this one very much for the twist of the victim taking control at the end...


That's exactly it--the special effects such as they were in the early 60s were pretty basic and so not all that scary by today's standards. I think some episodes would still be very good, though. Not sure I want to wade through all the others first. I had to pick out a story or two by James before the month runs out. These two books I have are quite nice Penguin editions--not sure if they contain all his stories but there are quite a few to choose from. I think I've read more short stories in the past two months than I have all year long! I like the idea of carrying a book of short stories around--I get much more reading done during the work week than on weekends--how strange is that!


I've never heard of M.R. James before, and he sounds like a delightful person, as well as a good writer. You're really drawing me in to your RIP readings this year...I'm wondering if I'm going to have to take up reading ghost stories!


Oh, I've read this one! It's a good one too I thought. I didn't know all that biographical info about James. I wonder how he actually did find the time to write so many ghost stories?


I think he is the classic ghost story writer if you ever do decide to dip your toes into the water so to speak. I keep putting off reading him thinking I need to read all the stories in the books--which is silly since I can easily read one or two here and there. I just need to mark down what I read. I do love ghost stories--mostly just enjoy the atmosphere. But I highly recommend short stories in general--lately I've been reading lots of them.


He sounds like he kept pretty busy, didn't he? Of course, bachelor academic--maybe he lived in rooms in the university and didn't have to worry about all the mundane trivialities of day to day living liking cooking and cleaning? Just could concentrate on his scholarly work--now that's the life! :) This was a fun story and I think I need to pick one more by him to wrap up my RIP reading!


I have a collection of MR James on audio book, but I gave it to my husband and son for a car journey and they didn't like it! I must retrieve it from wherever it has been abandoned and listen to it myself. I'm sure they were just being philistines!


Maybe the stories were too tame? They do have an old fashioned sort of feel to them, which I like, but that's probably not to everyone's tastes! :) You'll have to give them a go sometime--they're not scary, but nicely atmospheric!

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