4.5 but I rounded up. This somewhat curious book is a batch of modern Jamesian ghost stories, well sort of. It’s really three different books. The first “book” is Ghost Stories of a Campanologist. Before you go off for the dictionary, campanology is the art of bell ringing. Not just jerking the cable, but real songs and peals. There is a campanology dictionary, but you won’t need it. This whole first section is modern Jamesian ghost stories that in some way involve, well, bell ringing. There are twenty of them and before you can say “tedious” I’ll just say Kidd manages to never repeat herself. However, the emphasis on bell ringing may incline one to smaller sips in this section of the book.
Part two is Other Jamesian Ghost Stories, and just as it states these are Jamesian-style ghost stories set in present and past. Every single story is first rate.
However, for me the real treat was part three, Other Ghost Stories. There are 15 of them; hard to categorize except as really well written strange tales. Each one nearly perfect in its own way. One story, I swear looking back on it, has not a whit of the supernatural in it.
The entire book is well written in a graceful and literary style that enhances the stories. Most of these stories were originally published in fairly obscure places which is surprising given the consistent high quality and style of the stories; these read better than many anthology submissions I have seen.