The short story is often viewed as an inferior relation to the Novel. But it is an art in itself. To take a story and distil its essence into fewer pages while keeping character and plot rounded and driven is not an easy task. Many try and many fail. In this series we look at short stories from many of our most accomplished writers. Miniature masterpieces with a lot to say. In this volume we examine some of the short stories of M R James. M R James is widely regarded as THE master of the ghost story. His stories abound with spectres skulking in the shrubbery, in shadowy corners and dark recesses. 'The Mezzotint' is a whimsical and apparently supernatural tale of art on the move; a dying man devises a gruesome plan for testing his heirs in 'The Tractate Middoth', and something is lurking under the bedclothes in 'Rats'. Montague Rhodes James was born on August 1 1862 at Goodnestone Parsonage in Kent, England. As well as revitalising the ghost story - stripping away some of its Gothic trappings and introducing a more contemporary viewpoint and setting he was and remains much admired as a Medieval scholar and catalogued many of the manuscript libraries of the Cambridge colleges. He lived for many years, first as an undergraduate, then as a don and provost, at King's College, Cambridge. The university provides settings for several of his tales as does Suffolk. But, for us he remains the master writer of so many chilling classics stories, many of which we bring you here. MR James died age 73 at Eton. Many of these stories are also available as an audiobook from our sister company Word Of Mouth. Many samples are at our youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/PortablePoetry?feature=mhee The full volume can be purchased from iTunes, Amazon and other digital stores. Among the readers are Geoff Mcgivern.