I’ve been meaning to read this for ages, so hurrah that I finally got round to it. It’s a classic of gothic/horror stories, though to the jaded modern eye, it might not be that creepy at all. Of the stories, I liked ‘Carmilla’ and ‘The Room in the Dragon Volant’ the most — the mystery in the latter spun out satisfyingly, even if I did sort of guess how it would end. ‘Carmilla’ is mostly famous, I think, because it’s an early vampire story and because there’s a lot of homoerotic content. It’s not the most gripping reading, and the ending is pretty anti-climatic: there’s no real confrontation, but quite a tame denouement with a fairly toothless (ha) vampire.
Le Fanu was good at that sense of unease/uncanniness stuff, even if it seems like weak (or green? the jokes never stop in this review) tea now. The frame story about the Doctor seemed a little pointless to me, but I think it was probably written as a way to make it a little more creepy — as if these stories were real and collected by a real person because of their topics. I’ve always thought it a pretty good device, ever since Animorphs used to give me that moment of doubt as a kid.