November 24th, 2012

After searching the Judith Lee story The Man Who Cut Off My Hair for a decade, I am kinda into Richard Marsh now. I read the Beetle and some other stories from Project Gutenberg and enjoyed them. There are titles available from Flipkart and I went ahead and ordered a couple for that paper experience. They are mighty expensive when you pay in rupees though. Still worth it.

I read this collection of short stories “Curios” subtitled `Some Strange Adventures of Two Bachelors’.The stories itself have various chapters, but they are too small to be novellas. The stories are about two collectors of curios, Mr. Tress and Mr.Pugh. They are friends, rivals and sometimes downright enemies. As is the norm with Marsh, people are not really the goody goody ones. These gentlemen kinda reminds you of PG Wodehouse gang though. A bit.

There are seven stories in all.
1. The Adventure of the Pipe : A pipe comes into life when smoked. Here you get a glimpse of the characters of your leading men. Though they were much too hostile in this and kept becoming friendlier as the stories moved on. To me.
2. The Adventure of the Phonograph : Someone is murdered, or so Pugh believes. All he has is a woman’s last words on a phonograph he picked. Who is it?
3. The Adventure of the Cabinet : Pugh and Tress are at loggerheads about the ownership of a valuable cabinet.
4. The Adventure of the Ikon : Mr Tress buys a holy ikon from a Jew. A beautiful woman and a dwarf is set to rob him off it. This of course has all the Victorian stereotypes you expect from British novels, but is still a good drama.
5. The Adventure of the Puzzle : Mr Pugh acquires a puzzle and asks Tress’s help in solving it. This story again tells you how so not heroic or heroes are.
6. The Adventure of Lady Wishaw’s Hand : Pugh gets a 13th century hand in mail. Except it still looks alive and is murderous.
7. The Adventure of the Great Auk’s Egg : This is hilariously insulting of every collector and their loose morals when it comes to adding to their collections.

Pugh and Tress tells the stories alternately. They are all rather different. And there is suspense. And intrigue. A rather fine collection of stories.