Ash-Tree Press (Ashcroft, B.C., Canada). The owners of this press -- Barbara and Christopher Roden -- are the leading purveyors in North America of classic supernatural fiction, both old and new. They named Ash-Tree after a story by M.R. James, who is to the ghostly tale what Arthur Conan Doyle is to the detective story. This year's publications include volumes devoted to the macabre tales of Henry S. Whitehead (many set in the West Indies), Gerald Kersh (author of the hideous and brilliant "Men Without Bones"), Fitz-James O'Brien ("The Diamond Lens") and the acclaimed contemporary writer Reggie Oliver (Masques of Satan). And don't overlook City of the Sea and Other Ghost Stories, by Jerome K. Jerome, best known for the comic masterpiece Three Men in a Boat. Ash-Tree also publishes the invaluable All Hallows, the journal of the Ghost Story Society.
Big Mouth Press (Easthampton, Mass.). This is the new children's imprint of Small Beer Press -- publishers of cutting-edge fantasy and science fiction -- and its first offering is Joan Aiken's The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories. Aiken is best known for the rumbustious Dido Twite chronicles, set in an alternate 19th-century Britain and an influence on Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. For sheer charm it's hard to beat these wonderful, dead-pan comic tales about one family's adventures -- nearly always on a Monday -- with ghosts, witches, time travel, the Furies and every sort of magic.
Crippen and Landru (Norfolk, Va.). This publisher generally specializes in short-story collections by noted crime writers of the past and present, but one of its recent offerings is a volume of radio plays -- 13 to the Gallows -- by that Golden Age master of the locked-room mystery, John Dickson Carr (in collaboration with Val Gielgud). Another desirable volume, The Archer Files, edited by Tom Nolan, gathers together all the stories about Ross Macdonald's soft-boiled California private eye Lew Archer.
Dead Letter Press (New Kent, Va.). Bound for Evil, edited by Tom English, with illustrations by Allen Koszowski, is a hefty collection of stories about accursed and diabolical books. It includes celebrated chillers -- M.R. James's "Canon Alberic's Scrapbook," Robert W. Chambers's "The Yellow Sign" -- but also fine work by many contemporary writers, such as Fred Chappell (that wonderful homage to Lovecraft, "The Adder"), Simon Strantzas ("Leather, Dark and Cold") and Barbara Roden ("Association Copy"). Dead Letter's most recent book is Engelbrecht Again!, by Rhys Hughes, a companion volume to the cult classic The Exploits of Engelbrecht (Savoy), Maurice Richardson's peculiar and funny stories about the eponymous "Dwarf Surrealist Boxer."
Mage Publishers (Washington, D.C.). Highly recommended from Mage is Vis & Ramin, by Fakhraddin Gorgani, translated from the Persian by Dick Davis. This little publisher focuses on Persian literature, classic and current, and often works with Davis. Some years back it brought out his version of the Shahnameh -- the great Persian epic -- and now follows with this great (and sexy) Persian romance, a variant of, and possible source for, the Tristan and Isolde story.