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When Simone goes missing on her honeymoon in Ireland, her friend and former roommate Kelly flies out to help locate her. She refuses to believe either foul play or a tragic accident is behind Simone's disappearance: With luck, she has simply come to her senses about her choice of husband and run off to reassess the situation. But Kelly's heart sinks when the police inform her that they have found a scarf and are dragging a lake.

Retracing Simone's steps, Kelly ends up at crumbling old Muckross Abbey, a place where, according to legend, a newlywed bride discovered a man eating a corpse — and where Kelly makes a chilling discovery of her own.

The eponymous story "Muckross Abbey" is one of 10 spooky tales in Sabina Murray's new collection. While all the stories lack the murky mystery that pervaded Murray's last novel, "The Human Zoo" (2021), and the grisly violence that spattered the pages of her 2004 book "A Carnivore's Inquiry," the strongest of them read like carefully crafted slices of modern gothic layered with intrigue, suspense and macabre delights.

In Murray's opener, "The Long Story," Paul, a doctoral student, gets lost in fog while hiking on England's Dartmoor. Olivia, a fellow American, rescues him and brings him back to her cottage. "You're actually stuck here for the night," she tells him. "And you seem more pleasingly subdued than some of the other ones."

But will Paul remain as calm after listening to his host's strange tale about "the futility of love" and the circumstances that killed her son?

Its off-putting title aside, "The Dead Children" proves equally compelling. Judith, a professor at a college in Vermont, is accosted by a stranger in the street — someone, who, on closer examination, turns out to be Mrs. Begley, mother of Judith's childhood friend Emma, who died 40 years previously in Australia.

Despite being "flooded with cold, unforgiving adrenaline," Judith agrees to sit down with the woman and answer questions about how Emma fell to her death. But the grilling becomes a reckoning, and events take a sinister turn with the introduction of a Ouija board, an ominous encounter with a crazed nun and a creepy blast from the past.

Elsewhere, Murray tells ghostly tales that shrewdly channel exemplars of the genre, such as Daphne du Maurier's "Rebecca" and Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw." Some stories resemble Edgar Allan Poe's "phantasy pieces," albeit with uncanny and unsettling goings-on (fleeting apparitions, names sighed in the wind, things going bump in the night) rather than acts of blood-curdling terror. A few come flecked with wry humor: In "Harm," a woman turns pale but insists she has seen "Nothing supernatural. I find the living quite scary enough."

Read these stories in quick succession and we notice a recurring pattern of tropes and themes. Better just to dip into Murray's collection at leisure to fully appreciate each devilish tale's dark charms.

Malcolm Forbes has written for the Times Literary Supplement, the Economist and the Wall Street Journal. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Muckross Abbey

By: Sabina Murray.

Publisher: Black Cat, 256 pages, $17.