Five Short Stories brings together a diverse selection of Walter Scott’s shorter fictions produced over a five-year span late in his long career. First published within the three-volume novel Redgauntlet (1824), “Wandering Willie’s Tale” remains a staple of Gothic anthologies. Two Scottish tales, “The Highland Widow” and “The Two Drovers”, come from Chronicles of the Canongate (1827), Scott’s only official short story collection. Two other works intended for a second series of Chronicles, “My Aunt Margaret’s Mirror” and “The Tapestried Chamber”, eventually appeared in a fashionable gift-book, The Keepsake for 1829. A grisly murder and a journey into a hellish underworld; a drug-induced desertion followed by a military execution; a simmering rivalry leading to a homicide; bigamy exposed by a magic lantern show; and an ornate room furnished with the ghost of an evil aristocrat: these short stories amply showcase Scott’s darker imagination.