I happened upon an article in "Ploughshares" discussing the ghost stories of Muriel Spark and I happened to have this collection (above) which had a number of the mentioned stories in it. I found them oddly appealing although more as pieces of writing than satisfying ghost stories.
"The Leafsweeper" has the odd premise of being about a man whose obsession was putting an end to the celebration of Christmas. When enough people were bored and tired with his ranting about it, he was put in an asylum where he rakes leaves In the house where he formerly ranted, another ghostly figure takes his place at Christmas time although he does not rant and rave about Christmas. The story ends with the two figures becoming one. One has to wonder what the man does when there are no leaves to rake.
"The House of the Famous Poet" was even stranger. A woman living in the house of a famous poet is on a train ride when a soldier sells her "an abstract funeral" to cover the costs of his fare. The story ends with a bombing where people in the house of the famous poet die thus requiring a real funeral.
And finally "The Executor." A woman's uncle dies and leaves her his house and estate. She turns over his literary work to a foundation, holding back a novel about a witch with a chapter left for completion. As she works to complete it, little notes turn up each day, chastising her for not finishing the work and making disturbing accusations. The Foundation notifies her that they were in receipt of the final chapter and wanted the rest of it.None of these were satisfying to me as ghost stories but as I said, I enjoyed them anyway. Sometimes the conceit is more interesting than a satisfying conclusion. I always like Spark's writing and these were stories from a quirky mind. The best kind, I think.
More short stories