I picked up this collection, having read only one of the stories it contains before ("The Wendigo"), with exceedingly high expectations. Apparently from the period defining the peak of Blackwood's literary career (1906-1914), I had high hopes for it indeed. I was not disappointed.
The consistancy of this mans work continues to impress me. Pretty much every single story in this collection is amazing. Normally one expects, on reading a collection of stories, varying quality. Blackwood however is one of those authors who seems to have managed to maintain a high standard throughout all his work. At least from this period of his career anyway.
Thematically the stories are quite varied although it is safe to say that they are all spiritual in nature. Blackwood appears to enjoy taking the mundanity of every day existence and injecting a little awe, wonder and sometimes terror through an element of the supernatural. He builds up the tension and atmosphere gradually, layer by layer, with intense emotional effect. Sometimes the narrative might feel drawn out and the plot developments belaboured (particularly by modern standards) but this is all part of his deliberate method and it it is best not to fight it, slow down and just go with the flow. You will get the most out it that way.