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Summary

A second collection of tales from the master of ghost stories, M. R. James, whose stories have for many years inspired the BBC's A Ghost Story for Christmas TV adaptations. This volume includes 'A Warning to the Curious', 'The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral', 'The Mezzotint', and 'A Neighbour's Landmark'.
©2009 BBC Audiobooks Ltd (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Ghost Stories, Volume 2

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Better than Volume 1

What can I say - if you like M.R. James then these are superb adaptations. Derek Jacobi is the perfect voice to inhabit the world and his measured delivery is engaging and well suited to the 'academic' style M.R. James so often writes in.

I actually prefer this volume to the first, mainly because of the fantastically creepy 'A Warning To The Curious' which more than justifies giving this a listen on it's own. If I have any criticisms then they are those that can be levelled at all M.R. James material - repeated stories, styles and characters. That said, as an adaptation I cannot fault it.

One of those audiobooks I can certainly imagine myself returning to time and time again.

21 people found this helpful

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Great tales, superb narration by Derek Jacobi

An excellent reading of these classic tales:

1a) A Warning to the Curious
1b) The Mezzotint
2a) The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral
2b) A Neighbour's Landmark
3a) After dark in the Playing Fields

11 people found this helpful

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A perfect combination

The combination of Derek Jacobi & Monty James is perfect. I’ve heard everyone read MR James’s Ghost Stories and these are the most gripping, dramatic and enjoyable versions. They are not dramatisations, thankfully, but Jacobi inhabits every character with total authority. I might actually prefer this to Volume I as the story selection is more varied and representative of MR James’s body of work. I can’t recommend this any higher.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent selection atmospherically read

A first-class selection of some of James’ best ghost stories scintillatingly read by Jacobi with real atmosphere and delineation.

The stories in this selection are:
- A Warning to the Curious
- The Mezzotint
- The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral
- A Neighbour’s Landmark
- After Dark in the Playing Fields

1 person found this helpful

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Great stories

I love these ghost stories. I really enjoyed them when the BBC used to have readings on television at Christmas time. Derek Jacob with that wonderful voice is fantastic.

1 person found this helpful

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Ghost Stories Beautifully Crafted to haunt you

Jacobi's superb supple voice & minute inflections are in perfect pitch for these old fashioned, disturbingly ambiguous ghost stories. Once encountered I felt the spectral entities remained nearby long after I had ceased reading about their lives, their deaths; they had been imprisoned created too often by Faustian pacts. How can they be set free from their horrible captivity, behind the bars of their often self inflicted and last remaining Too often the-eerily suggested entities feel too close to many of us.

5 people found this helpful

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A bit of a mixed bag.

I have read, listened to and watched many of MR James' short stories. some are fantastic, others have aged badly. This collection is certainly not the cream of the crop but there are some good and some average stories here. I hate to criticise such an actor as Sir Derek Jacobi but his reading lacks atmosphere. He doesn't hold the listener like Sir Michael Horden did when he read The Ash Tree, or No,13 or Rats. these are three of my favourite MR James stories. None of which are included here...

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Great old stories told in the manner of the time.

I expect that in the good old days it would ha e made small children scared to go to bed but worth a listen It sounds like Old Grandad reading a scary story

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Stunningly , simply, superb!!

Was my review in Vol 1... so wonderful in written and spoken word alike. Definitely a must listen, just wish it lasted longer (they're fabulous stories & Sir Derek Jacobi is outstanding, as always)

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Flawless

Fans of M.R. James will not be disappointed by Derek Jacobi's masterful performance. He even brings life to the lesser, whimsical 'After Dark in the Playing Fields'. Superb.

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  • Kit
  • 07-11-11

Jacobi brings these wonderful old tales to life!

The only reason I don't give the Story rating a five is because while these stories may have been super frightening to the Victorian or Edwardian listening, the level of fright they impart now is somewhat lessened. The tone and language of the writing is superb, nonetheless, and the ideas held within the stories fascinating and supernatural. The Jamesian Ghost story isn't for everyone, but the formula is a good one!

Of all the many recorded books available of James' works, Derek Jacobi does the best. His skill at dialects brings each of the characters to life without the disconnect and interruption of focus caused by multiple readers in one piece. One immediately feels the life of each person, and the familiarity of an acquaintanceship. In addition, it recalls the original purpose of many of James' works: the Christmas reading at a party. Jacobi's delivery, other than the dialects themselves, is full of the emotion proper to the scenes, easy to follow and bringing to mind the theater. The stage is set keenly, and if a listener doesn't have an advanced vocabulary, the tone and delivery offers context clue as to what is going on.

Indeed, I've listened many times to my copy. I've found my favorites to be 'A Warning to the Curious' and The Mezzotint'. The price is worth the 2 hrs and 46 mins, given the easy of listening again and again. Don't miss out on the Volume 1 of this set, if you get this one (I bought the CDs of Vol. 1, rather than the audible file.)

13 people found this helpful

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  • jessikraut
  • 10-10-19

Delightful narration of classic creepy tales - 2

Since there is no "track listing" of the stories in this title's description, allow me to provide them to you here, so you don't do as I did and end up purchasing recordings of individual stories by M.R. James which overlap with these:

Ghost Stories Volume TWO:
1. A Warning to the Curious
2. The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral
3. After Dark in the Playing Fields

Ghost Stories Volume ONE - (sold separately):
1. A View from a Hill
2. Rats
3. A School Story
4. The Ash Tree
5. The Story of a Disappearance, and an Appearance

Enjoy!

10 people found this helpful

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  • Robert
  • 27-10-12

Great Narration of Ghost Classics!

Derek Jacobi is an incredible narrator! He really brings these stories to life with a number of accents, voices and emotion. I must admit that Volume One of Ghost Stories is my favourite so far, Volume Two does not dissapoint. If you are a fan of M.R. James or classic ghost stories like I am, pick this one up!

10 people found this helpful

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  • Donnie
  • 25-12-20

Excellent narrating! But Audible version unusable.

Derek Jacobi does an excellent narration of M. R. James' stories. He really is just fantastic.

Here are my only complaints: in Audible, none of the chapters are titled. This was just a slight annoyance in in volume 1, where there are 5 stories and 5 chapters, but in volume 2, there are 4 stories and 3 chapters - but to make it even more stupid, chapter 1 contains 1 story, chapter 2 contains 2 more stories and half of the last story, while the last chapter contains the last half of the 4th story.

How stupid is that? Break up the chapters into the actual stories.

While I really enjoyed Derek Jacobi's narration, making the stories needlessly hard to find in the audiobook is a dealbreaker. These kinds of audiobooks aren't ones you usually listen to from beginning to end, especially at one sitting. They are ones where you listen to a story, then later (the same day, that week, a month, whenever) you come back and listen to another. They made it very difficult with this.

Another thing that was disappointing is the length. Both volume 1 and 2 are less than 3 hours each. Why not have combined them into one audiobook? I only listened to these because they were included in the Plus catalog. To purchase them, volume 1 and 2 were $8.99 each, which seems high for what you get. If they had been combined into a single volume, and each story given it's own chapter, this would be a sure purchase for me.

4 people found this helpful

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  • C. Sahu
  • 24-12-13

Quite Good

The three M.R. James ghost stories read in this audiobook are "A Warning to the Curious," "The Mezzotint," and "The Stalls at Barchester Cathedral." Both this and M.R.James' "Ghost Stories, Volume 1" are enjoyable if you love old English-style ghost stories (lots of atmosphere, long wind-up to a sudden, somewhat mysterious apparition), but James' best work are in his "Ghost Stories of an Antiquary" collection. These are the B team. Derek Jacobi is the perfect reader.

3 people found this helpful

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  • John
  • 25-10-21

Terribly Delightful

Better than out-and-out horror, M. R. James inspires a deep sense of unease. The source of the evil is never fully revealed. The threat is usually experienced at second-hand. And that all-important ingredient of ghost stories, a sense of incredulity on the part of the characters involved, chimes perfectly with our own mindset, making the creepiness even creepier.

I agree with Kit that the best tales in this collection are “A Warning to the Curious” and “The Mezzotint”—especially the latter. Like most of James’ stories, these involve encounters with ancient legends or local lore. And since the gap between present and past can never be fully bridged, we never know the full truth. Of course, that leaves the wellspring of uneasiness, our own imaginations, to fill in the rest. It’s all terribly delightful.

Derek Jacobi is always great. The only downside is the organization of the recording. Why the editors decided to lump the first four stories into two long chapters, then accord the final (and least satisfying) tale its own chapter will remain yet another subject for our imaginations to ponder.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Donna Deal
  • 25-07-19

Nothing like escaping reality into a ghost story!

Ghost stories at Christmas are a British tradition, and James' stories are the prime example.
These stories revolve around the educated, privileged man... 'stories within stories.'
you overhear someone telling the curious tale; of course there are atmospherics that set the mood,
and the narrator's voice is vital --Derek Jacobi has a sensitive, supple voice that immediately and intimately
wraps up the reader in the telling..

I recommend this unique recording of these stories... they are not for Christmas only.
I find ghost stories especially appealing during the long, hot dog days of summer.. when a shudder
and a chill are most welcome.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Robert
  • 10-05-19

spooky as always

makes you think about what's behind you as you depart a dark room. and look behind you as you shut off the lights.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Phyllis Lowe
  • 15-03-22

These stories have a kindness for owls

James' work is marked by an affection for humanity - not just in their beauty but in their vulnerability. The narration and the text both show that affection to full display so even the gruff and the prickly are honoured with kindness and understanding.

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  • Barbara Ball
  • 28-01-22

Very Different

M. R. James's stories are very different but are so much more fun to listen to then ordinary ghost stories, very English, which I have to admit I really like. If you give it a chance I think you will like them also.