Wednesday, the 27th of April 2022, and time for Shelf Control once again! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, all you do is pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what its about, why you want to read it, when you got it, and such. If you participate, don’t forget to link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks as well!

This is the third time that E. F. (Edward Frederic) Benson is making an appearance in one of my shelf control posts, though my reading of Benson hasn’t alas, changed much since that last one (that was Mrs Ames, in which we see some prototypes for the Mapp and Lucia books; prior to that it was his bio of Charlotte Bronte). I’ve read and enjoyed his Mapp and Lucia books, reread most of them, come across a few others that I’d like to read but have only read The Freaks of Mayfair from these so far (great fun). Last year, I had downloaded a public domain copy of today’s pick, Spook Stories, one of several volumes of spook stories that he wrote to read for Halloween, but then ended up too occupied with other reading to do so.

Edward Frederic Benson was an English author, biographer and archeologist born at Wellington College, Berkshire (where his father was headmaster), and educated at Templegrove School, Marlborough College and King’s College. His first book was Sketches from Marlborough, published in 1888, and he went on to write novels, of which the six Mapp and Lucia books are the best known, short stories, biographies including of Charlotte Bronte, Queen Victoria, and Edward VIII. A look at his wikipedia page shows he was rather prolific, having also written plays, numerous articles, and some autobiographical works.

This collection, first published in 1928, has twelve short, spooky stories, with titles like ‘The Face’, ‘Spinach’, ‘Expiation’ and ‘Home Sweet Home’ and which according to reviews contain ‘monsters’, ‘murderers’, ‘madmen’ and ‘spectres’, described as ‘chilling’ and ‘hair raising’.

While I am not a great reader of horror fiction, I don’t mind picking up gothic, or traditional horror tales from time to time, and quite enjoy reading them (though enjoy is probably not quite the word to use). I hope at least this time, around Halloween, I am able to do so.

Have you read any works by Benson before? Which one/s and how did you find it? Any comparable authors/books that you’d recommend? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and recommendations!

Lisa’s pick this week is a book that I’d very much want to read, House of Dreams: The Life of L. M. Montgomery by Liz Rosenberg, since I very much love Montgomery’s stories.

Description and cover image from Goodreads


12 thoughts on “Shelf Control #182: Spook Stories by E.F. Benson

  1. I feel I’ve read and enjoyed a few of Benson’s ghost stories, but I seem to only have reviewed one on the blog – The Face, which is one of the ones you mention as being in this collection. I enjoyed it, and it was at the mild end of horror, so very much my level! Must admit I don’t remember the details now, but at the time I complimented the characterisation and quality of the writing, and remarked that it has some humour in it. I hope you enjoy them when you get to them!

    Liked by 1 person

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