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  #1  
Old 09-12-2011, 02:22 PM
Unauthorized Cinnamon Unauthorized Cinnamon is offline
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Fall reading: cozy mysteries, ghost stories, and beyond!

Sure, it's still in the high 80s here in NC, but I'm ready for Fall. I'm keen to go out in the crisp air and get a bit of a chill, then come inside, wrap up in a fuzzy throw, and read some mysteries. Not hard-boiled detective novels or forensic anthropology, but the type of story where the heroine puts on the kettle while she ponders the poisoning committed up the street. While there are several sites that catalog cozies (this one will guide you to gourd-crafting themed cozies, if that's what you want!), I was wondering which are the Dopers' favorites.

Now, on to ghost stories and the like. The Seance, by Jonathan Harwood, is perfect. The Thirteenth Tale is gothic and entrancing. Coraline is one of my all-time favorites, and The Graveyard Book is right on its heels. Straub's Ghost Story is a classic. I've got The Turn of the Screw on audio somewhere, and I should probably dig that up. Likewise The Haunting (though print, not audio).

Finally, before opening this up to suggestions, A Night in the Lonesome October is in its own category, and I know it's de rigeur for many Dopers to read this, preferably day-by-day in October. Having interlibrary loaned it last year, I went ahead and bought a copy for my very own, and I'm forcing myself to wait till 9/30 to read the Prologue.

Bring it on - what charming stories of death are perfect for curling up with in front of a fire?
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  #2  
Old 09-12-2011, 03:15 PM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
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If you've never read any Ray Bradbury, I suggest The October Country, The Halloween Tree, and From The Dust Returned. This last one is about a family of ghosts, mummies, and Uncle Einar, who flies with batwings. A proto-Addams Family, and no wonder - Mr. Bradbury's good friend Charles Addams did the original dust jacket. Alfred Hitchcock compiled volumes of scary short stories years ago, they should still be available through the public library.
  #3  
Old 09-12-2011, 04:21 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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On the graphic novel front, I've been enjoying Locke & Key very much.
  #4  
Old 09-12-2011, 06:29 PM
all1966 all1966 is offline
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I second the Thirteenth Tale -- when IS that woman going to write another book?? This first offering of hers was fantastic!

Carlos Ruiz Zafon has two I liked: The Shadow of the Wind and The Prince of Mist. Both kinda creepy in a noir kind of way.

For fall reading, but not necessarily halloween themed, I luvs me the cozy mysteries, preferably set on the stormy east coast Some authors I've recently enjoyed in this genre:

Sarah Graves, Jenn McKinlay, Cricket McRae, and Laura Childs.

Tasha Alexander and Deanna Raybourn write fun Victorian cozy mysteries that work well for Fall.

And finally, the "October Daye" series by Seanan McGuire are fun Fae fare
  #5  
Old 09-12-2011, 09:04 PM
Batsinma Belfry Batsinma Belfry is offline
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I just finished So Cold The River.
It is one of the creepiest books I've read. It's mostly a mystery with a sprinkling of ghosts.
  #6  
Old 09-13-2011, 03:16 PM
Unauthorized Cinnamon Unauthorized Cinnamon is offline
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Mmmm, lots of good suggestions - time to hit the library!

I know, all1966 I'm also wondering when Diane Setterfield will write another book, I loved The Thirteenth Tale so much! If you liked it, I suggest checking out John (not Jonathan as I said above, woops) Harwood's The Ghost Writer. The ending is a bit of a mess, but it's worth reading just for the creepy Victorian ghost stories that are nested in the narrative!
  #7  
Old 09-13-2011, 08:13 PM
Tapiotar Tapiotar is offline
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Oh, I like your taste. I enjoyed The Thirteenth Tale, and I second Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
Along the lines of Spanish literature, do check out Perez-Reverte's The Club Dumas and The Flanders Panel
Also:
Helen Grant, The Glass Demon (mystery involving stained glass from a medieval German monastery). Couldn't put it down til I finished it.
David Liss, The Twelfth Enchantment, regency period magic, a romp
Elizabeth Hand, Mortal Love, Pre-Raphaelite art and obsession.
Alan Bradley, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, British precocious child mystery solver, a chemist more likely to brew up a poison or itching solution to annoy her sisters than a pot of tea, but oh, well. It's the first of a series, really good and engaging.
  #8  
Old 09-14-2011, 12:53 PM
all1966 all1966 is offline
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**pulls out stickie note**

Adding these many fine suggestions to my "To Read" list on Goodreads!!

I hope Diane Setterfield isn't a one hit wonder...there HAS to be another good story or two in that woman
  #9  
Old 09-25-2011, 02:53 AM
Batsinma Belfry Batsinma Belfry is offline
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Originally Posted by Unauthorized Cinnamon View Post
Mmmm, lots of good suggestions - time to hit the library!

I know, all1966 I'm also wondering when Diane Setterfield will write another book, I loved The Thirteenth Tale so much! If you liked it, I suggest checking out John (not Jonathan as I said above, woops) Harwood's The Ghost Writer. The ending is a bit of a mess, but it's worth reading just for the creepy Victorian ghost stories that are nested in the narrative!
I just finished reading The Ghost Writer, mostly because of this post, but also because so many reviewers were confused by the ending. I'm confused about everyone's confusion. The only thing that might make the ending confusing is how fast everything happened in the last chapter. You barely have time to register the big twist, before chaos comes from nowhere.
  #10  
Old 09-26-2011, 09:58 AM
Unauthorized Cinnamon Unauthorized Cinnamon is offline
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Originally Posted by Batsinma Belfry View Post
I just finished reading The Ghost Writer, mostly because of this post, but also because so many reviewers were confused by the ending. I'm confused about everyone's confusion. The only thing that might make the ending confusing is how fast everything happened in the last chapter. You barely have time to register the big twist, before chaos comes from nowhere.
I know the first time I read it, I was reading kind of fast because of "What happens neeeext?!" fever, and I did get kind of confused. As you say, there's a lot of tension, then a revelation, then an explanation that requires imagining some spatial relations and such, and then . . . it's over.

On re-read, I wasn't confused anymore, but I did think the denouement was a little silly, and the ultimate conclusion for the protagonist was unsatisfying. I still love the book as a whole, though!
  #11  
Old 09-26-2011, 03:40 PM
Batsinma Belfry Batsinma Belfry is offline
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Originally Posted by Unauthorized Cinnamon View Post

On re-read, I wasn't confused anymore, but I did think the denouement was a little silly, and the ultimate conclusion for the protagonist was unsatisfying. I still love the book as a whole, though!
I loved it too. Thanks for recommending it. I'm reading The Seance now.
  #12  
Old 09-27-2011, 11:40 AM
The_Peyote_Coyote The_Peyote_Coyote is offline
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If you like ghost stories, especially old-fashioned ones, Unauthorized Cinnamon, I recommend M.R. James, E.F. Benson, J. Sheridan le Fanu, and H. Russell Wakefield.
  #13  
Old 09-27-2011, 11:53 AM
Gordon Urquhart Gordon Urquhart is offline
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I started my unsettling fall reading a couple of weeks ago, with Henry James' short story "Sir Edmund Orme," and then moved on to Daphne du Maurier's "Rebecca" (had seen the movie; had never read the book), and then a re-read of Susan Hill's "The Woman in Black."

"Rebecca" was really quite good -- in that, du Maurier impressed me with her writing style more than she did with "Don't Look Now," a short story compilation I read earlier this year (although the title story was very good -- the movie's great too, if anyone hasn't seen it yet).

I'm now in a re-read of Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories, and liking it quite a lot (again).

I'll throw a recommendation in for Edith Wharton's ghost stories (especially "Afterward" and "Miss Mary Pask" -- her writing style, I think, really makes for some effective reading of ghostly fiction.

I love this time of year -- I read almost exclusively spooky stuff during late September and October.
  #14  
Old 09-27-2011, 03:22 PM
apollonia apollonia is offline
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I recommend Sarah Waters. The Little Stranger sounds perfect for this--decaying English country home hides a mystery! I stayed up until two in the morning reading this, jumped out of my skin at one point, and was well and truly creeped out. Fingersmith is another deliciously intriguing mystery-with-a-twist.
  #15  
Old 09-27-2011, 04:14 PM
jsgoddess jsgoddess is online now
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Originally Posted by apollonia View Post
I recommend Sarah Waters. The Little Stranger sounds perfect for this--decaying English country home hides a mystery!
That's what I would recommend, too. Such a creepy book.

For cozy mysteries, I love historical mysteries like the Joliffe books, or the Shardlake books. There's something so great about reading those and snuggling in and feeling grateful for running water.
  #16  
Old 09-27-2011, 04:42 PM
eclectic wench eclectic wench is offline
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Another vote for MR James! And if you want seriously scary and atmospheric, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House should do it.
  #17  
Old 10-01-2011, 04:00 PM
Ellen Cherry Ellen Cherry is online now
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Here's a good short story you can read online to get you in the mood. I read it online a couple years ago and it seems it only took 20 minutes or so. It's a classic, so if you haven't read it yet, there no time like the present. The Beckoning Fair One.

http://www.english.upenn.edu/~nauerbac/onions.html
  #18  
Old 10-03-2011, 02:23 PM
Clothahump Clothahump is offline
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May I offer Saki's The Open Window?

ETA: How could I have forgotten Sredni Vashtar as well?

Last edited by Clothahump; 10-03-2011 at 02:26 PM..
  #19  
Old 10-07-2011, 03:17 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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I'm reading a collection of Victorian detective mysteries and "Roald Dahl's Ghost Stories." This turned out not to be ghost stories by Dahl, but a collection of his favorites. It turns out that he had a super idea to make a 24-episode series for TV of classic ghost stories, and he read about 750 of them to pick the best ones (!). Then the series never got off the ground. But the ghost stories are really good!
  #20  
Old 10-11-2011, 10:38 AM
Gordon Urquhart Gordon Urquhart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dangermom View Post
I'm reading a collection of Victorian detective mysteries and "Roald Dahl's Ghost Stories." This turned out not to be ghost stories by Dahl, but a collection of his favorites. It turns out that he had a super idea to make a 24-episode series for TV of classic ghost stories, and he read about 750 of them to pick the best ones (!). Then the series never got off the ground. But the ghost stories are really good!
A few days ago I finished that Roald Dahl book that dangermom mentioned, and really enjoyed it. While it includes a number of stories that one finds in many other anthologies (especially Edith Wharton's Afterward and Robert Aickman's Ringing the Changes), there's no harm in reading them once more -- there's a reason they're so acclaimed -- and it's heartening to know that Dahl liked them too.

There were some good discoveries among the stories that were new to me, too. I especially liked The Sweeper by A.M. Burrage -- the description of how the main character realizes something's just not right with the titular character is really chilling.

Dahl's introduction to the book is entertaining to read: he's quite right in stating that a lot of the ghostly fiction out there is not very good -- but the ones that stand above the rest are really worth reading.

I'm now about halfway through Dracula; although I've read it before, it never fails to entertain and horrify. What a great book.
  #21  
Old 10-11-2011, 01:20 PM
Unauthorized Cinnamon Unauthorized Cinnamon is offline
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I'm definitely going to check out that Dahl book!

Reminds me of My Favorite Horror Story, which has some real winners. That was the first place I encountered The Color out of Space, a story that still gives me delicious shivers.

Also, Need Coffee has a fun feature called 32 Days of Halloween, where Widgett reads various scary stories and poems each day leading up to Halloween. I'm enjoying it, though The Girl with the Balloon made me cry.
  #22  
Old 10-12-2011, 09:47 AM
Atomic Mama Atomic Mama is offline
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What!?!?!?!?! No H.P. Lovecraft yet? Maybe not Halloween-themed, but he scares me to death, even after repeated reading. Especially "The Rats in The Walls" and "At the Mountains of Madness." And any Cthulu stuff. And "The Dunwich Horror." Etc. We may get to Housatonic, Mass., in a couple of weeks :-)
  #23  
Old 10-23-2013, 01:40 PM
Dendarii Dame Dendarii Dame is offline
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Manly Wade Wellman's short stories about Silver John and his encounters with ghosts, witches, etc. in Appalachia are wonderful. A number of them are on line.

There's also a great novel for children about a ghost girl and a living girl who's been adopted by some mediums called A Drowned Maiden's Hair, by Laura Amy Schlitz.

Last edited by Dendarii Dame; 10-23-2013 at 01:41 PM..
  #24  
Old 10-24-2013, 01:23 PM
Gedd Gedd is offline
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I figure this is as good a place as any to repost it, a list of spooky Dope threads:
The Creepy Thread (Stories and Links Welcome)

For some quick scares browse the "Very Vaguely Creepy" threads.
  #25  
Old 10-24-2013, 03:31 PM
Simplicio Simplicio is offline
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Coraline is one of my all-time favorites, and The Graveyard Book is right on its heels.
Gaiman's Lovecraft/Holmes mashup is free to read online. More clever then scary, but definately in keeping with the Horror theme.
  #26  
Old 10-25-2013, 12:24 AM
rowrrbazzle rowrrbazzle is offline
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Manly Wade Wellman's short stories about Silver John and his encounters with ghosts, witches, etc. in Appalachia are wonderful. A number of them are on line.
The entire "John the Balladeer/Who Fears the Devil?" can be accessed in various formats here: http://www.library.beau.org/lib/eboo...deer/index.htm
  #27  
Old 10-25-2013, 02:31 PM
Rahne McCloud Rahne McCloud is offline
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Topper By Thorne Smith and The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde.

Last edited by Rahne McCloud; 10-25-2013 at 02:33 PM..
  #28  
Old 10-25-2013, 10:11 PM
Simplicio Simplicio is offline
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Anyone recommend penpalls yet this year? I usually find online horror stories kinda weak, but this one is really good.
  #29  
Old 10-26-2013, 12:27 AM
madrabbitwoman madrabbitwoman is offline
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I have been working my way through 'Fantastic Fiction > Horror & Supernatural Fiction' at www.librivox.org

There are some true classics and (for me) unheard of treasures amongst them.
  #30  
Old 10-26-2013, 06:16 AM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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I have been working my way through 'Fantastic Fiction > Horror & Supernatural Fiction' at www.librivox.org

There are some true classics and (for me) unheard of treasures amongst them.
Care to share with us which ones are the unheard-of treasures?
  #31  
Old 10-26-2013, 09:38 PM
madrabbitwoman madrabbitwoman is offline
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Care to share with us which ones are the unheard-of treasures?
Well I had never heard of some of them before anyway. I really enjoyed 'The screaming skull' by Francis Marion Crawford in Short Ghost and Horror Collection 009. There are some classics in there as well: The Mlonkey's paw and TheTell tale heart. The rest I had never heard of before.

There are heaps of these types of collections on Librivox and they are a great way to find authors which you have never heard of before but wrote good stuff. Also good if like me you have a short attention span

http://librivox.org/group/466
 

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