There's nothing nicer than dipping into books of short stories, is there? Well, nothing I can writre about here without being put behind one of those content warning thingies. And one undeniably good thing about modern publishing is there are firms that specialise in putting out cheap editions of ye olde stories that otherwise might be hard to obtain.
Which brings me to Wordsworth's nice series of Tales of Mystery and the Supernatural. I bought three paperbacks in the series for considerably less than a tenner. I employed an internet vendor which, as I must avoid advertising, I will call Orinoco.co.uk.
Two of the books are edited by Mark Valentine. Mark is also editor of the excellent journal Wormwood, which you can buy via Tartarus Press here. An erudite and very knowledgeable connoisseur of the supernatural tale, he's also an original and insightful author. The two books in question are The Werewolf Pack, and The Black Veil & Other Tales of Supernatural Sleuths. So far I'm enjoying both. In the werewolf book I was pleasantly surprised to come across a new tale by Steve Duffy, 'The Clay Party', which is one of those historical stories that actually works by making you forget that it's set in days of yore. It's fairly grisly, too - suffice to say it was inspired by the Donner Party, and leave it at that.
The third book is a collectiion of Robert E. Howard horror/thrillers entitled The Haunter of the Ring & other Tales. Now I would say that title is a tad unfortunate, but then I have a vulgar mind. Suffice to say that among the other stories in the book are less gigglesome titles such as 'The Black Stone', 'Skull-Face' or 'People of the Dark'. But there you go. I'm not familiar with Howard's work in the Lovecraft tradition, so this should be interesting.
There is one oddity about these Wordsworth jobs, though. The covers of the two books edited by Mark Valentine would, to the uninitiated, suggest that he is the author - there is 'edited by' above his name. I wonder why that is? Are they afraid they'll scare off people by even implying such a high-falutin', intellectual concept as editorship? Or is it simply cheaper not to bother? Have I failed to notice a significant new trend in publishing?