The best ghost stories where the ghost helps solve a problem rather than cause one

Andrew Norriss Author Of Friends for Life
By Andrew Norriss

Who am I?

I’ve always been a big fan of ghost stories where, for some reason, the ghosts reveal that they are stuck here. Something happened to them during their earthly life so that, instead of going to wherever you’re supposed to go when you die, this means they can’t. Not until they have ‘undone’ or put right something they did or had done to them. In these stories, we meet spirits who, usually with the help of some human, are doing exactly that. I find such stories deeply satisfying. Which is probably why I try and write them as well…


I wrote...

Friends for Life

By Andrew Norriss,

Book cover of Friends for Life

What is my book about?

My book is about a young teen, Francis, who meets a girl about his own age who is a ghost – though apart from the fact that Jessica has been dead for about a year, she seems perfectly normal. For some reason, Francis is the only person who can see her – until Andi comes along, and then Roland… And the four of them then have the puzzle of working out why Jessica is a ghost and what, if anything, they need to do about it. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Amazing Mr. Blunden (Puffin books)

Why did I love this book?

It’s not quite clear at first whether the two children who appear one day out of the mist asking for help are ghosts, or whether the word is better used to describe the children who go back in time, as requested, to help them. Either way, this is a cracking story with a very satisfactory solution for all of them. And the amazing Mr. Blunden? For me, he is the best and the most moving part of the story. An old gentleman who made a terrible mistake in the past, but who has now been given a chance to put it right, and earn forgiveness and peace.

By Antonia Barber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Amazing Mr. Blunden (Puffin books) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A CHRISTMAS SKY ORIGINAL FILM, STARRING MARK GATISS, SIMON CALLOW AND TAMSIN GREIG

AN ENTHRALLING GHOST STORY WITH A TIME-TRAVELLING TWIST

'When you come to the house, you will hear strange tales. They will tell you in the village that it is haunted, but you must not be afraid. When the time comes ... you will know what to do.'

Mr Blunden's words echoed through Lucy's ears as she explored the house. It was such an old house that it seemed to Lucy as if all the past was gathered up inside it as if in a great box; as…


The Canterville Ghost

By Oscar Wilde,

Book cover of The Canterville Ghost

Why did I love this book?

As far as I know, Oscar Wilde was the first writer to use the idea that a ghost is someone who is somehow trapped in the past and unable to move on because of something that he or she did when they were alive. Sir Simon Canterville murdered his wife in 1575, and is still haunting Canterville Chase 350 years later – rattling his chains, looking after the bloodstain where his wife died, and frightening anyone he meets in the corridors, until…

Well, you’ll have to read the story to find out what happens to him, but it is without question one of the most beautiful stories of forgiveness (and how much we all need it) that I have ever read.

By Oscar Wilde,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Canterville Ghost as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Despite warnings from Lord Canterville that their new home is haunted and that several family have fled form it in the middle of the night the Otis family chooses to go forward with their relocation. Almost immediately the Otis Family discovers that the stories are true and that their house is haunted by the ghost of Sir Simon. It is Sir Simon's intent not to share the house with anyone, but the Otis family is not like previous families that Sir Simon has scared off in the past. Narrated by the ghost himself, this Gothic ghost story takes the reader…


Book cover of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

Why did I love this book?

They made this story into a movie which is still one of my favourites, but the book is even better. Lucy Muir is a widow with two young children and not much money, who rents a house by the sea that is remarkably cheap, mostly because it comes with the ghost of a bad-tempered sea captain, who has driven out all the previous occupants. Mrs. Muir, however, is made of stern stuff and her relationship with the captain makes for one of the oddest, but still utterly captivating, love stories

By R.A. Dick,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Ghost and Mrs. Muir as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The basis for Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s cinematic romance starring Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison.
 
Burdened by debt after her husband's death, Lucy Muir insists on moving into the very cheap Gull Cottage in the quaint seaside village of Whitecliff, despite multiple warnings that the house is haunted. Upon discovering the rumors to be true, the young widow ends up forming a special companionship with the ghost of handsome former sea captain Daniel Gregg. Through the struggles of supporting her children, seeking out romance from the wrong places, and working to publish the captain's story as a book, Blood and Swash,…


Book cover of The Children of Green Knowe Collection

Why did I love this book?

I’d better start by giving you a warning here. This story is from a time long before smartphones, the internet, or digital entertainment. Long before. So it’s a slow burn.

At the start, Tolly has been packed off to stay with his great grandmother in her old house in the country, while his parents are abroad. The house, Green Knowe, is full of mysteries and… ghosts. Ghosts of the past who carry the lesson that you never really know who you are until you know where you came from.

Brilliant stuff but, like I said, be prepared for the gentle pace!

By Lucy M. Boston,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Children of Green Knowe Collection as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Children of Green Knowe Collection brings the Lucy Boston classics The Children of Green Knowe and River at Green Knowe together in one beautifully packaged edition.

These enchanting, haunting stories from Carnegie winner Lucy M. Boston have become modern classics, beautifully evoking all the magic and wonder of childhood. Now The Children of Green Knowe and River at Green Knowe are available in one edition.

Children of Green Knowe
Tolly's great grandmother isn't a witch, but both she and her old house, Green Knowe, are full of a very special kind of magic. There are other children in the…


The Ghost of Thomas Kempe

By Penelope Lively,

Book cover of The Ghost of Thomas Kempe

Why did I love this book?

This is such a good story! Young James Harrison has moved to the small town of Ledsham in England and finds himself at the heart of a series of spooky accidents for which he is getting the blame. The real culprit is Thomas Kempe, who lived and died 350 years ago, but whose grumpy spirit lives on. Apparently, he does not approve of the ‘modern’ changes that are happening and is determined to stop them.

It is a story about change, how difficult it can be sometimes to accept, and yet how damaging it can be to cling to the past. Powerful stuff!

By Penelope Lively,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Ghost of Thomas Kempe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic ghost story from Penelope Lively, one of the modern greats of British fiction for adults and children alike.

James is fed up. His family has moved to a new cottage - with grounds that are great for excavations, and trees that are perfect for climbing - and stuff is happening. Stuff that is normally the kind of thing he does. And he's getting blamed for it. But it's not him who's writing strange things on shopping lists and fences. It's not him who smashes bottles and pours tea in the Vicar's lap. It's a ghost - honestly. Thomas…


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