Sarah Waters loves WW. Jacobs The Monkeys Paw

“At the foot of the stairs, the match went out, and he paused to strike another. And at the same moment, a knock, so quiet and stealthy as to be scarcely audible, sounded on the front door.”

A life-long fan of tales of horror and the supernatural, Sarah Water’s novel The Little Stranger is a very modern ghost story in which war trauma, grief and class tensions fuel a very modern haunting. In this episode of the Litro Lab podcast, we talk to Sarah about her favorite classic ghost story, ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ by W.W. Jacobs.

“How far could your attachment to your child go? Could you rejoin them across the gulf of death?”

She spoke to us about her childhood obsession with the Pan Book of Horror Stories, writing The Little Stranger, haunted houses, and the lasting appeal of ghosts. Listen to the interview, and Greg Page’s chilling reading of the story, using the player below.

‘The Monkey’s Paw’ by W.W. Jacobs is used with the kind permission of The Society of Authors as the Literary Representative of the Estate of W.W. Jacobs.

Music credits:
“Unanswered Questions” and “Seven March” by Kevin MacLeod ( and licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

Sound effects from freesound:
Chimney Fire by reinsamba, Wind howling nighttime by dynamicell, Squeaky gate by acclivity, Footsteps concrete by freqman, Pendulum by daveincamas, Door knocks by fogma, Opening Dead Bolt by Scott-Kelly.

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