As if these weren't scary enough times, what with economic apocalypse and snow in October, Halloween is here with us: scooped out pumpkins, gangs of rogue children demanding confectionery and Jamie Lee Curtis on the television.
But there may be a better way to celebrate. Light a fire, pull up a chair, open a bottle of blood red wine and settle down with the Everyman Library's Ghost Stories.
Telling scary stories is a fine art. Even more than in other genres the suspension of a rational belief system, even if just for a few minutes, is essential for a reader to be receptive.
And so it makes sense for this smart little anthology to go to great writers: Edith Wharton, Vladimir Nabokov, Henry James and Guy de Maupassant. Each with something a little different.
Two of the highlights here are P.G. Wodehouse's distinctive tone and style in Honeysuckle Cottage, the story of an unusually haunted house and W.W. Jacobs' The Monkey's Paw. The latter is a story I feel I have heard many times before, and this chilling tale is clearly a much-copied idea.
As ever with Everyman this volume, edited by Peter Washington, is as stylish as it is substantive and would make the perfect halloween gift.