Another of the Otto Penzler books of collected stories, this book takes on the ghost story in fiction of the last 150 or so years. So, for example, we’re not getting Hamlet or The Castle of Otranto or anything like that.
The collection still mostly focuses on stories written for magazine publication primarily, and this means tha a lot of stories were originally published in various pulp magazines in the 1930s or thereabouts, but different from the more noir collections, we end up with a lot more more famous writers who pubilshed a lot of other kinds of fiction. For example, this collection contains Ambrose Bierce and EF Benson, two writers equally known for ghost stories as not.
The collection is very good, and structured based on type of stories, as opposed to chronologically. Chronological collections tend to suggest a shape or path that stories follow, but also can feel bogged down in certain time periods at various moments. This collection uses theme or style more so. So you might get something like someone realizing that they have died as the theme, or ghost stories that are funny, or haunted houses etc.
The biggest complaint with this collection is not its fault at all. It’s just too much book to take on in one go (without reading other things along the way) because you end up just having too much ghost story. As I did with the Book Big of Pulps, I scattered this one along for two months or so to keep myself sane as I went.