Wednesday, 30 November 2016

the hound of death

On Thursday 18th August I finished The Hound of Death, a short story collection from 1933 by Agatha Christie, which was okay.

It's a short story collection of 'eerie stories' as the back cover of my edition describes them, fairly accurately. (There's an unusually long Wikipedia entry for the volume, with overdetailed plot summaries of each story.) They almost all have an element of the supernatural, with or without an ultimate natural explanation. The notable exception is Witness For The Prosecution, which is a rather good crime story which was turned into rather a good film (via a play version). It seems rather out of place. Like The Listerdale Mystery collection which I also read this year, it's interesting that there's a batch of stories with similar themes and tones, and I wonder if in both cases she was just in the vein for those, or whether the stories were saved and deliberately collected together. Anyway, it was a perfectly acceptable read.

The cover is another of the classic Tom Adams 60s/70s paintings covers (this from a 1972 impression of the 1964 edition, by Fontana); one of the most distinctive and sustained series of book covers there has ever been, and for an author which publishers might not have felt the need to make any special effort for - as many other editions (and popular authors) have demonstrated. Always tricky to illustrate a short story collection with one particular image, so he's just gone for eerie/slighthorror, which does the job. I like the author and title lettering. I never liked the Fontana logo.

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