Aiken fans will be disappointed in this weak collection, though it does include some interesting ideas: ghosts who look like live people except for their eyes, which are holes through their heads; a priest and his intellectual brother, who play an elaborate board game of Pilgrim's Progress; pollution and urban wreckage that are used as elements of horror; and characters in modern settings who inherit an ancestral ability to write poetry. But while Aiken's novels are known for their complicated, surprising plots, these stories are slow to build, and they fizzle out in unresolved endings before much terror can accumulate. Too often, the main character is left wondering what happened, as is the reader. A heavy dose of modern British props and lingo ("If the peelers should rumble the ken. . .") makes for confusion and renders one story almost unreadable.