The Terrifying Tales by Edgar Allen Poe collects together The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, The Masque of the Red Death, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Purloined Letter and The Pit and the Pendulum.
I must say that I was not hugely terrified by all of the stories contained within this anthology, least of all The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Purloined Letter. Although the murders outlined in Rue Morgue are gruesome, the story as a whole was not terrifying to me. The Purloined Letter contained less than this and was simply a mystery. I got the impression from these two stories that Dupin and the unnamed narrator are Poe’s version of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, and although the stories do seem to drag at times, -especially during Dupin’s expositional monologues- I did find aspects of them interesting.
The other stories were more in line with the title of the anthology and are in turn, some of Poe’s most well-known pieces. Each of the stories kept me interested and I was curious to see how they would turn out, particularly The Pit and The Pendulum; with each development of the story, I wondered what the final fate of our protagonist would be. As I previously stated, I didn’t really find myself feeling terrified by any of the stories, however, I know that if I were to find myself in situations similar to that of The Pit and the Pendulum or The Cask of Amontillado, then, I surely would be terrified.
As these stories were written in the 19th century, the wording and sentence structure is of the time period and includes some peculiar spellings, such as clue spelled clew. I find this interesting to see how language has evolved over the years, but others may find it strange and confusing to read.
These are the first stories by Poe I have ever read and I feel it was a good place to start as it contains some of his most popular pieces and gives a good indication of his style and subject matter. So for anyone looking to get into Edgar Allen Poe, I would recommend this book as a starting point. However, for someone wanting six of his terrifying tales, it is a little disappointing, as two of them do not fit this description.