Thursday, June 28, 2012

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: More Stories My Mother Never Told Me, by Alfred Hitchcock (ed.)


A collection of 14 creepy short stories by Roald Dahl, Ray Bradbury, and others. The title is apt, as Alfred Hitchcock notes in his introduction that "I am prepared to testify in any court in the land that none of these stories was ever recounted to me in any form by my mother. The reason for this is quite simple. None of them had been written at the time when my mother was telling stories to me." Can't argue with that.

The short story is just about the perfect medium for the eerie and unsettling tale, as it allows the author to linger just long enough to communicate a kernel of horror or unease and often end the story without actually resolving the disturbing scenario depicted.  In my opinion, the best in the genre are usually very short indeed. The stories in this collection tend to hover right around the 10 page mark (just about right for a good creepy short story). Hitchcock promises that the reader is "in for a full gamut of emotional reactions--barring, of course, the tender sentiments, with which I will have no truck."  The book doesn't quite live up to Hitchcock's amusing (and rather charming) introduction, but there are some good stories here.

I particularly liked "Dip in the Pool", "The Arbutus Collar" (my favorite), "Courtesy of the Road", "Remains to Be Seen", and "Slime," but most of the stories here had something to recommend them (though I thought the collection ended on a strikingly weak note with "Simone"). If you're a fan of short horror stories, this collection is worth picking up (unless you already have all the stories in other collections, that is).

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