By: Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
The last of Dickens' Christmas novellas (1848), The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain centres around Professor Redlaw, a teacher of chemistry, whose personal life has been marred by sorrow and, he feels, by wrongs done to him in his past. He is haunted by his ghostly twin, who offers him the opportunity to forget completely all 'sorrow, wrong and trouble', claiming that this will make him happier. Redlaw wavers, but finally accepts this offer, discovering too late that there are conditions attached to it which cause him to infect with this unwanted 'gift' nearly everyone with whom he comes in contact.
The story is populated by Dickens' archetypal comic figures - the Swidgers, who are servants of the college, and the hard-working but poor Tetterby family who run a nearby shop.
As tends to be the case with these Christmas books, this one is awash with sentimentality, so suspend your 21st century cynicism for a few hours if you listen. (Introduction by Ruth Golding)