The People in the Castle: Selected Strange Stories by Joan Aiken


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One day a few years from now you’ll be busy with something and these stories will come back to you.

“Among the stories collected in this omnibus, are some of the very first Joan Aiken stories that I ever fell in love with, starting with the title story ‘The People in the Castle,’ which is a variation on the classic tales of fairy wives.”—Kelly Link

“[A] haunting and wondrous book.”—Emily Nordling,

“This short story collection, edited by Aiken’s daughter Lizza and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction finalist Kelly Link, compiles tales of the surreal and supernatural suited for an adult audience.”—Ryan Porter, Toronto Star

“Sprightly but brooding, with well-defined plots, twists, and punch lines, these stories deserve a place on the shelf with the fantasies of Saki (H.H. Munro), Sylvia Townsend Warner, and Susanna Clarke.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Here is the whisper in the night, the creak upstairs, the sound that raises gooseflesh, the wish you’d checked the lock on the door before it got really, really dark. Here are tales of suspense and the supernatural that will chill, amuse, and exhilarate.

Best known for The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Joan Aiken (1924–2004) wrote over a hundred books and won the Guardian and Edgar Allan Poe awards. She supported her family by copyediting at Argosy magazine and an advertising agency before turning to fiction and went on to write for Vogue, Good Housekeeping, Vanity Fair, Women’s Own, and many others. Visit her online at

The People in the Castle: Selected Strange Stories by Joan Aiken