Elizabeth Gaskell's delight in the macabre is nowhere more evident than in her short fiction. This volume testifies to the extraordinary range of Gaskell's art as a short story writer. "The Grey Woman" is a Gothic tale of terror and suspense, while the plot of "A Dark Night's Work" turns on concealed crime and a false accusation of murder. Gaskell did not rely on Gothic thrills or sensational action to gain a reputation among her friends as a gifted storyteller or to become one of the most popular authors of her day. As Charles Dickens appreciated when he addressed her as "My dear Scheherazade", Gaskell could transform the most simple events of daily life in to comedy or tragedy, horror or beauty. Diverse as they are, these stories all reveal a talent for observation and use of telling detail which is sympathetic rather than sentimental, shrewd but tempered by Wordsworthian recognition that "we have all of us one human heart".