The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (1898)

A young governess arrives at a country house to take charge of Flora and Miles, who appear to be angelic children. However, appearances aren’t what they seem, and when the unnamed governess starts to sense something unnerving in the house she begins to question how faultless the children really are. A haunting tale full of twists and turns, the tension does not let up as The Turn of the Screw delves into the darker recesses of childhood. 

 

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (1983)

For the perfect haunted house story, you can’t go wrong with The Woman in Black. Eel Marsh House can only be reached by a causeway: set off too late and you might just fall victim to the quicksand or the rising waters. Arthur Kipps is a young solicitor who makes the treacherous journey to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, the house’s sole inhabitant. As he works through her documents he discovers a devastating secret that will have an impact on his life in ways he is yet to comprehend. Are you ready to find out who the 'Woman in Black' is?

 

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (1910)

The classic story of the phantom is renowned for musical and film adaptations, but have you read the book? A beautiful and talented singer, Christine Daaé, is haunted by the ‘Opera Ghost’ who teaches her to sing… yet the harmonious partnership comes to a frightening conclusion as Christine falls for her childhood sweetheart, Raoul. Leroux splendidly creates the atmosphere of a Parisian opera house where the candelabras are lit and the audience is seated in finery, unaware of the shadows that lurk behind the scenes. 

 

The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins (1878)

Fate, danger, murder and mystery all rolled into one deliciously dark package. The Haunted Hotel opens with a woman visiting her doctor, fearing that she is losing her mind. A tale of premonitions, disappearances, apparent madness and supernatural sightings build to a haunting climax, all linked by one frightening room in Venice, Room 14.

 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)

This classic has had many Hollywood treatments that it’s difficult to remember the real story behind the monster. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is the story of a scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who plunders graveyards for materials to create a new being... but events turn for the worse once his creature escapes. An adventure that takes you through the Swiss Alps to the Arctic Circle, the story explores the dangers of scientific exploration and what it truly means to be 'monstrous'. 

 

Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)

Although Stoker didn’t invent the vampire, Dracula transformed a classic European folk tale into a story for the masses, whose appetite for blood-sucking predators has not diminished since. The beauty of this novel is how the story unfolds through diary entries, letters and newspaper clippings, which transport you from a crumbling castle in Transylvania to the picturesque coastal town of Whitby. This classic is a novel you can read again and again, and still be spooked by the adventures that befall the unwitting Jonathan Harker.

 

The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike (1984)

Three women, all recently divorced, pass the time in the small town of Eastwick by practising witchcraft. Alexandra can summon thunderstorms, Jane can float on air and Sukie can turn milk into cream. But their happy routine takes a darker, more menacing turn when a stranger comes to refurbish the local derelict mansion, and seduces them one by one. It’s a story about scandal, revenge and magic running wild.

 

The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe (1841)

You can’t have a Halloween read without a few murders and some nail-biting suspense, and Edgar Allan Poe’s enthralling stories about C. Auguste Dupin tick both those boxes. These short, mysterious stories have inspired so much of the detective fiction we know today, including the stories of Sherlock Holmes. Strange, sinister and gruesome, and with an eccentric lead character, they’re a must-read for those who love a murder mystery. 

 

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty (1971)

The film of The Exorcist is widely considered to be one of the most terrifying movies ever made, and this full-cast radio drama is just as frightening. Starring Robert Glenister and Ian McDiarmid, the audiobook is a chilling adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s original novel and is wickedly entertaining for those who love horror. The story follows Father Karras, who meets a young girl controlled by an unseen force, and soon finds himself tormented by the demons inside her… plug your headphones in, turn off the lights and get ready to have your bedsocks scared off. 

 

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (1859)

It is widely considered by many as the first mystery novel. This 1859 story follows Walter Hartright, hired as a drawing teacher to a beautiful young woman but who is soon unwittingly drawn into more sinister goings-on. Using multiple narrators and drawing on Collins’ legal background to create an electrifying story of suspense, jealousy and murder, it was an instant success when it was originally published in 40 weekly instalments.
 

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