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The Phantom Coach

A Connoisseur's Collection of the Best Victorian Ghost Stories
Narrated by: Matthew Waterson
Length: 10 hrs and 48 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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Summary

A spine-tingling new collection of the best Victorian ghost stories—as suspenseful and entertaining as anything written today.

Ghost stories date back centuries, but those written in the Victorian era have a unique atmosphere and dark beauty. Michael Sims, whose previous Victorian collections Dracula’s Guest (vampires) and The Dead Witness (detectives) have been widely praised, has gathered twelve of the best stories about humanity’s oldest supernatural obsession. The Phantom Coach includes tales by a surprising and often legendary cast, including Charles Dickens, Margaret Oliphant, Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, and Arthur Conan Doyle, as well as lost gems by forgotten masters such as Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and W. F. Harvey. Amelia B. Edwards’s chilling story gives the collection its title, while Ambrose Bierce ("The Moonlit Road"), Elizabeth Gaskell ("The Old Nurse’s Story"), and W. W. Jacobs ("The Monkey’s Paw") will turn you white as a sheet. With a skillful introduction to the genre and notes on each story by Sims, The Phantom Coach is a spectacular collection of ghostly Victorian thrills.

©2014 Michael Sims (P)2014 Audible Inc.

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew
  • MALVERN, United Kingdom
  • 11-05-15

BE WARNED intro before every story!

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I Love Victorian Ghost stories, so jumped at this and here are some of the best. This collection is actually quite unique, not the usual bunch and I found some as yet unheard gems amongst them.
And the introduction by Sims is quite good too....

Any additional comments?

HOWEVER, although I really liked the introduction by Sims, giving historical context and information about each author etc. I DID NOT then appreciate yet another introduction before each story.

After hearing the initial intro. I then just want to listen to all the stories back to back. It was really annoying to then have another whole load of blurb before starting the next story. It really broke the rhythm for me and was very distracting.

Otherwise would have been 5 stars across the board. And I feel Audible should have made this clear in their description so readers / listeners are warned about this before purchasing.

Narrater did an excellent job, thumbs up there.

I will reluctantly be returning this item - to hunt down the stories elsewhere, uninterrupted.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Really good stories, Terrible narration!

I really thought I'd enjoy this book, the list of classic supernatural stories are right up my street. But the guy reading the stories is terrible.
I struggled to get past the first couple of stories. I tried the next one, then the next one then I just gave up. His tone is pleasent enough, but he reads in lines and not in sentences and after you notice this it bugs the hell out of you.
Really gutted as this is an excellent collection.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Weak narration and some irrelevant stories

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

This collection starts with a lengthy extract from a non-Victorian story, and when it finally finishes the main stories are let down by passionless, almost monotone narration. There is no attempt by the narrator to add drama to the stories. I kept fast forwarding in the hope that it would get better, but it didn't.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great bedtime listening. would highly recommend

Great bedtime listening. would highly recommend it gives you a very cosy feeling my favourite is chapter 3.

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  • Me
  • 06-08-17

Excellent audiobook

Some slightly drawn out essay like intros, nonetheless informative. The stories were well selected and narrated and as a connoisseur of Victorian literature this was brilliant

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  • Robert
  • 03-05-15

Excellent Narration and Great Selection of Stories

I was pleasantly surprised with this collection of Victorian ghost stories! Michael Sims is an excellent narrator and I enjoyed listening to his voice and various character accents. By far my favourites are The Old Nurse's Story and The Captain of the Pole-Star. Here's what you get on the audiobook:

The Old Nurse’s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell
The Phantom Coach by Amelia B. Edwards
The Trial for Murder by Charles Dickens
The Captain of the “Pole-Star” by Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Edmund Orne by Henry James
The Yellow Sign by Robert W. Chambers
The Library Window by Margaret Oliphant
The Monkey’s Paw by W. W. Jacobs
The Southwest Chamber by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
“They” by Rudyard Kipling
The Moonlit Road by Ambrose Bierce
August Heat by W. F. Harvey

A highly recommended audiobook for those looking for some great classic ghost stories!

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • Troy
  • 21-11-14

The Classics That Haunt You Forever

Nobody does classic ghost stories like the Victorians. Nobody. These stories aren't necessarily scary, especially by today's standards, but they are beautifully written masterpieces by some of the greatest writers that ever dipped a pen into ink. The variety of authors and prose styles presented here is nothing less than impressive to me. I would love to see an additional anthology or two in this series just on account, because this collection just barely scratches the surface of what I know to be out there.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • GracieKat
  • 07-01-19

A Very Good Collection of Victorian Ghost Stories

I love classic ghost stories but I'm always leery of collections, particularly audio collections. It always seems like the same stories are collected over and over with the only difference being the narrator. The Phantom Coach caught my attention because, to be honest, I really liked the cover. I checked out a sample of the narrator...so far so good. The Phantom Coach ended up being an excellent listening experience. 

Starting the book with a very personal introduction editor Michael Sims has put together a good collection of stories in The Phantom Coach. Some of the stories I have heard before but the editor seemed to at least try to make an effort to not go straight for the expected stories from the various authors. His biographies of the authors before the stories were also very good. They were quite thorough but kept short enough so as not to weigh the bios down with unnecessary information. The information was interesting and not the usual copy/paste that you usually find in the biographies of well-known authors. One of the pieces of information regarding Margaret Oliphant I'd never heard before and made me see her life in a whole new light. 



The tales included are as follows: 
The Old Nurse's Story - Elizabeth Gaskell

The Phantom Coach - Amelia B. Edwards

The Trial for Murder - Charles Dickens

The Captain of the Pole-Star - Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Edmund Orme - Henry James

The Yellow Sign - Robert W. Chambers

The Library Window: A Story of the Seen and Unseen - Margaret Oliphant

The Monkey's Paw - W.W. Jacobs

The Southwest Chamber - Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

They - Rudyard Kipling

The Moonlit Road - Ambrose Bierce

August Heat - William F. Harvey



The narrator, Matthew Waterson, does an excellent narration of the books. He catches the tones of each story very well and does not try too hard at the feminine voices. He seems to know his limits and stays within them. The stories are well-chosen for the most part and are very interesting. There are one or two that seem to end rather abruptly ('August Heat' and 'They' being the two that stand out the most) and Arthur Conan Doyle's story 'The Captain of the Pole-Star' has an unnecessary epilogue.

After all of this praise the four star rating might be a little confusing. It mostly comes down to this. The editor, while mentioning multiple female writers and speaking very highly of them, only includes four of them in this collection. In a book that contains twelve stories that seems a little light to me. Particularly when at least two of the stories, 'The Monkey's Paw' and 'The Yellow Sign' could have been replaced altogether. Don't misunderstand me, I think they are excellent stories but they have each shown up in many collections (particularly 'The Monkey's Paw') that their inclusion here is a bit superfluous. The editor mentions at least five contemporary female writers that are not as widely known as W.F. Jacobs and Robert W. Chambers. I have to question why he didn't choose one of their stories instead to give the book more balance.

All in all I would certainly recommend this audiobook and I have no doubt that the print or e-book would be just as good for a dip into some hidden (and a few not so hidden) gems of the era for some ghostly goodness.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Julieann
  • 21-10-16

Scary yes!

These stories had me jumping or turning round! They were all very good and enjoyed my time with them throughly! I have my favorites of course but all are worth a listen if this genre suits you.
I especially enjoyed the brief bio of each author at the beginning of their story as I was not familiar with all of them.
The narrator was wonderful, full of emotion and handled each character as it's own person.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bluestramp
  • 23-05-16

Great Dark Side Lituraetre

They say it is difficult to write short stories....true...but short scary ghost stories, believe it.
Here is an array of some of the finest "spooky" tales you will find. I scour the net for them and here is some gold....

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Robin
  • 16-09-16

great collection of spooky stories

I enjoyed this collection of ghost stories, some familiar and and some new to me.
However, the narrationtook a bit of getting used to. I found his voice a little momotonous, and he ran some of the words and sentences together in a rather odd, manner. It was almost as if the book were being read by an electronic reading machine!?

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sean
  • 20-10-16

Victorian scary not modern scary

This book is very enjoyable for what it is. The Victorian era doesn't approach scary the same way we do in the modern world. If you appreciate 19th century prose and that style of writing you will certainly enjoy this book. If you want to be scared, you should probably pass on it

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Marco Antonio Lara
  • 20-11-15

good collection

good readers and a good selection then once again as we find out so when so many anthologies that over popular stories or chosen this we have encountered elsewhere

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Brenda Bass
  • 12-10-15

Victorian Era ghost stories-too Victorian for me

I was disappointed, I don't know what I really expected, scarier stories than I got, however. I think I didn't take into consideration, that they were written a over 100 years ago. (lol).

I did like the introduction, where we were told about the different authors, and their history in writing, as well as some of their life histories, and there were a few famous authors--some of which I hadn't known wrote ghost stories, but it didn't matter--at least not to me this time.

The worst part of most of the stories is that the scariest thing didn't happen until the end of the stories, and then the story just ended-that was it. I'm presuming, however, that that's the way the Victorians wrote stories, so in that case, if that's what you're looking for, you'll find it here.

I'm also sorry to say, the narration was not helpful--pretty monotone for most of the stories.

0 of 6 people found this review helpful