Mysterious Cat Stories

John Richard Stephens, Editor, Kim Smith, Editor Carroll & Graf Publishers $19.95 (303p) ISBN 978-0-88184-948-6
The supernatural is central to this collection of 26 cat tales, gathered from the 13th century to the present. Rarely warm or cuddly creatures, the cats met here speak to humankind's deep-seated fears and misgivings about the feline. Aiming to embrace the unusual, the editors have included H. P. Lovecraft's masterly ``The Cats of Ulthar'' and Robert Bloch's chilling ``Catnip,'' both tales of well-deserved justice administered by cats. ``The Great God Mau'' by Stella Whitelaw brings ancient Egypt to life in the adventures of a pharoah's cat. In August Derleth's ``Balu,'' an orphaned boy and his cat settle their score with Cousin Harold in a delightfully grotesque manner. M. J. Engh's ``The Tail'' is told by a cat whose tail takes on a life of its own. ``The Last Temptation of Tony the C.'' by Christopher Fahy, merging reality and hallucination, is one of the more effective stories in the volume, an honor matched by Nancy Etchemendy's ``Cat in Glass,'' in which a murderous cat statue sets off a blood-curdling chain of events. Although the stories are uneven in quality (the stiff Edwardian prose of Algernon Blackwood's 1911 ``The Empty Sleeve'' and its obvious ending suggest reasons for his neglect over the years), this is a thoughtfully chosen and engaging collection. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-0-88365-872-7
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