North Yorkshire: Tartarus Press, 2008. First Edition. Large octavo, original red boards lettered and ruled in gilt. 293 pp., frontispiece portrait of the author. A fine copy in a less than fine dust jacket. The jacket has no chips or tears and is quite presentable but it scuff marks (dust-soiling); principally on the rear panel, which lowers the grade to very good; hence a fine copy in a very good dust jacket. Item #312146
¶ This collection brings together all of the sharpest, darkest, weird and macabre tales of Edwardian satirist Hector Hugh Munro (who adopted the pen-name, 'Saki'). Among the best of these are the stories of the unlikely god Sredni Vashtar, a beautiful young werewolf, the dying and unmourned Laura, and the laughter of the youthful and merciless Pan.
Saki brings to the supernatural tale a studied nonchalance and a terse remorselessness in the telling. 'Wittily sombre and elegantly grim' was one well-turned contemporary evocation of his work. All the trappings of the Gothic, and the later antiquarian, ghost or horror story, have been quite banished from his work. There is no laboured building-up of portent, no labyrinthine twisting of devious history, no elaborate word-painting to conjure up atmosphere. Instead, Saki achieves a fastidious precision and economy. In his mastery of the sardonic and his ironic, adroit deployment of the supernatural, he has few equals.
Includes: 'Introduction'by Mark Valentine; 'The Reticence of Lady Anne', 'The Lost Sanjak', 'Gabriel-Ernest', 'The Saint and the Goblin', 'The Soul of Laploshka', 'Esmé', 'Tobermory', 'The Background', 'The Unrest-Cure', 'Sredni Vashtar', 'The Easter Egg', 'The Music on the Hill', 'The Peace of Mowsle Barton', 'The Secret Sin of Septimus Brope', ' "Ministers of Grace" ', 'The Remoulding of Groby Lington', 'The She-Wolf', 'Laura', 'The Hen', 'The Open Window', 'The Cobweb', 'The Seventh Pullet', 'The Blind Spot', 'The Story-Teller', 'The Lumber-Room', 'The Toys of Peace', 'The Wolves of Cernagratz', 'The Interlopers', 'The Hedgehog', 'The Image of the Lost Soul', 'The Infernal Parliament', 'When William Came'.