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The Mark of the Beast and Other Horror Tales (Dover Horror Classics) - Rudyard Kipling, S.T. Joshi If you're like me then you wouldn't have realised that this famous classic author had ever written in the horror field. I hadn't actually read any of his work before and so it was high time I read something by him, this looked like a good place to start.

The stories are presented in chronological order and hence there's a definite sense of change and progression reading through them in order. In my opinion, we see the Kipling developing his skills as a writer and the stories generally improve as they go on. Also, later on there is a definite shift away from India as the setting, I suppose reflecting the fact that he moved away from India later on in life.

Some stories definitely left a stronger impression than others. Besides the unquestionably excellent title story, I loved "The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes" in which an English officer accidentally falls into a sand trap in the desert and finds a community of scavengers living in it with apparently no way out. An interesting examination of human nature.

"The Wandering Jew" was a haunting tale of someone who is driven to try and gain extra days of life my travelling constantly eastwards around the world.

In "They" the protagonist, lost while driving, encounters a blind lady living in a house with mysteriously shy children. He eventually discovers they are not quite what they seem.

And in "The House Surgeon" we see a house haunted, not by the dead, by by the grief of the a living, tortured soul.

All in all, a pleasing collection in which the stories can be read back to back as they vary considerably and served up with an informative introduction by S. T. Joshi.