Top-flight entry in the Mammoth Book of . . . series, which are always valuable and fun, but this one takes the cake and has a number of modern classic entries that idle readers may well never have heard of but should not miss. This is not junk food, but rather a truly distinguished table d'hâ„¢te of elegant fare and suave storytelling. Standing out strongly against the strong standouts is poet Stevie Smith's anything-goes ""Is There Life Beyond the Gravy?,"" in which a teacher is untimely ripped from her grave by her dead relatives during the London blitz and sent back to work in a classroom where students fly in the window and the dead must continue to look on the bright side of things. Henry James's ""The Third Person,"" written in the same English village house where he wrote ""The Turn of the Screw,"" creates a seminal ghost whose new qualities are echoed throughout this collection. All 30 of editor Haining's authors are very well-known stylists or master storytellers: John Steinbeck, Theodore Drelser, Mary Higgins Clark, Ruth Rendell, Fay Weldon, Julian Barnes, John Mortimer, Muriel Spark, J.B. Priestly, R.M. Delafield H.G. Wells, Jack London, and over two dozen others. Great supernatural fiction indeed, and not to be confused with horror fiction.