The House by the Churchyard by Sheridan Le Fanu
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu is best known today as one of the Victorian period's leading exponents of supernatural fiction, and was described by M.R. James as standing 'absolutely in the first rank as a writer of ghost stories'. The House by the Churchyard is perhaps his best novel in this genre. Set in the village of Chapelizod, near Dublin, in the 1760s the story opens with the accidental disinterment of an old skull in the churchyard, and an eerie late-night funeral. This discovery relates to murders, both recent and historical whose repercussions disrupt the complacent pace of village affairs and change the lives of many of its notable characters forever. Charm and chilling darkness abound in equal measure in one of the greatest novels of a Victorian master of mystery.