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Malignant forces and supernatural visitors haunt these superbly spooky tales, selected and introduced by Ruth Rendell
M. R. James wrote his ghost stories to entertain friends on Christmas Eve, and they went on to both transform and modernize a genre. James harnesses the power of suggestion to move from a recognizable world to one that is indefinably strange, and then unforgettably terrifying. Sheets, pictures, carvings, a doll's house, a lonely beach, a branch tapping on a window—ordinary things take on more than a tinge of dread in the hands of the original master of suspense. James's prescription for his ghost stories was to "let the ominous thing put out its head, unobtrusively at first, and then more insistently, until it holds the stage."