Five ghost stories to make you tremble

19 February 2015

Author F. R. Tallis, a.k.a. 'the Doctor of Fear' and author of The Sleep Room and The Voices, reveals his favourite ghost stories.

The Lost Stradivarius, J. Meade Falkner

A much neglected late nineteenth century masterpiece in which a young English aristocrat pursues a vision of absolute evil. Sometimes described as the novel that M.R. James never wrote. Beautifully written and very atmospheric.  

The Turn of the Screw, Henry James 

Arguably the first truly psychological ghost story. Succeeds as both a tale of terror and a Freudian case study.
Oh Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad, M.R.James

An academic summons up something supernatural and is awakened in the night by movements in an ‘empty’ bed. There’s a black and white 1968 TV adaptation of this story (directed by Jonathan Miller) which is equally compelling and probably the most played DVD in my collection.  
The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson

A psychical investigation takes place in the definitive haunted house. Really disturbing and a major milestone in the development of the psychological ghost story. Also works as a crypto-feminist exploration of issues surrounding female identity.
All Hallows, Walter de la Mare

‘I mean sir, that there are devilish agencies at work here.’ A weary traveller meets an old man who gives him a guided tour of a possessed cathedral. Dark, oppressive, and profoundly unnerving.
Photo (c) Jay Malone /

The Passenger

The Passenger

Not all those on board are invited . . .

1941. A German submarine, U-330, patrols the stormy inhospitable waters of the North Atlantic. It is commanded by Siegfried Lorenz, a maverick naval officer who does not believe in the war he is bound by duty and honour to fight in. U-330 receives a triple-encoded message with instructions to collect two prisoners from a vessel located off the Icelandic coast and transport them to the base at Brest. Contact between the prisoners and Lorenz has been forbidden, and it transpires that this special mission has been ordered by an unknown source, high up in the SS. It is rumoured that Grimstad is working on a secret weapon that could change the course of the war . . . 

Suddenly, a series of shocking, brutal events occurs. In the aftermath, disturbing things start happening on the boat. It seems that a lethal, supernatural force is stalking the crew, wrestling with Lorenz for control. A thousand feet under the dark, icy waves, it doesn't matter how loud you scream . . .

The Passenger is the newest novel from F.R. Tallis, and is out now in Paperback and as an ebook. 

Read extract  

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