Good thing that Penguin English Library has a book on Poe, which contains 19 very entertaining stories. The Murders in the Rue Morgue and Other Tales has all the classic Poe short stories: "The Masque of the Red Death," "The Pit and the Pendulum," and "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Cask of Amontillado," to name a few. It's a beautiful collection of Poe's works, with the reader having no choice but to read each story in one sitting.
Ah, Poe, why did it take me so long to read your nightmarish, weird, Gothic, horrifying stories? I've always considered myself quite wide read when it comes to the horror genre, but now that I've read Poe's tales, most of the novels that I've read seem to be the work of amateurs. Poe's ideas are so wonderfully bizaare that you think it's either he's brilliant or he's one crazy SOB. I feel that only a person with a sick mind can come up with these dark tales.
Among the 19 tales collected in this anthology, my favorites would have to be "Ligeia," "The Fall of the House of Usher," and, of course, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." I think "Ligeia" is one creepy ghost story, with the ghost finding her way back into her lover's arms and her lover eagerly welcoming her back. And the Gothic atmosphere of "The Fall of the House of Usher" is unparalleled. You can cut the menace and the creepiness with a knife.
Curiously, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" is more scientific than anything. What the characters do to untangle the mystery is very unorthodox. Now who (or what) committed the brutal murders is a surprise in itself. While this tale may seem to be a detective story when you finish it, its opening is one that needs an empty stomach for its sheer gore. A woman and her daughter are found in their house dead. The daughter has been pushed feet first up the chimney; the mother is found with her throat slit so deep that when people remove the body, her head falls off. Say good-bye to your appetite, dear reader.
Poe died at the age of 40. Quite a shame to leave the world at that young age, when you think about it. Who knows what tales of violence, macabre, madness, and horror he would've written if he had lived longer? Do take the time to read (or reread) Poe, dear readers. Your world will be darker for it.
Read this book if:
- Horror is your genre.
- You love the unexpected twists in endings.
- You know that, sometimes, the world is a dark place.