Do you like Roald Dahl? Why do you like him? His funny (to some) stories? The weirdness? The messages? The writing style? Well, forget all of that when you approach Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories. Long story short, Dahl edited the stories in this collection to find “the best of thriller/ghost short stories.” They are classically presented, and if you told me they were written by people like Dickens, or O’Henry, or even Poe I would not be surprised. I am assuming I have not heard of the writers (at least no names have really “jumped out at me”). Which means to me that these works are inspired by such authors or are contemporaries. As this was first published around 1984, you will not find anything modern in the storylines and though I found the book in the children’s section of my library, I do not see modern children interested in it.
The introduction is long and dull; at least for me. However, if you like knowing more background about what you are going to read, go for it, there is a lot that could be interesting. Basically Dahl tells us the inspiration of this collection, toots his own horn, and tells us that these stories are the best of the best. He even tells us that he feels the women authors had a leg up on the genre, but at the same time choose more male authors. Some of those authors are E. F. Benson, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Rosemary Timperley, and Edith Wharton.
There are no illustrations, which for someone who reads a lot of picture books and graphic novels was a shock at first. And while everything is a fairly short tale (some have more “description” than others) it could take me a bit to get through one. In fact. I had to renew my library copy so I could get past story three. And I am maybe at story five or six, and there are several more to go. I am not saying that these stories are bad, actually far from it. But it was not what I was looking for at the time I started (well before Halloween and here it is early November). This collection is something you need to take your time with, have a quiet spot to read, and need to be in the mood for some thrills and chills.