Monday, October 12, 2015

Mistresses of Mystery

"Why is it that when we all have electricity, radios, and telephones, we still return to antiquated tales of horror?" - Edmund Wilson

Thus begins the introduction for a short story by E. Nesbit, one of the nine tales included in Mistresses of Mystery, Two Centuries of Suspense Stories by the Gentle Sex. Selected and introduced by Seon Manley & Gogo Lewis, and published by Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Company in 1973, this spine tingling collection of tales continues our autumnal theme of scary stories with Edward Gorey connections. Each story included in the volume is given an informative introduction with background information on the author and tale that follows.

The volume is remarkable for the beautiful three color dust wrapper illustration by Edward Gorey showing an authoress engaged in imagining tales of murder and fright. Borrowing an idea from himself which he employed in his production design for the Nantucket production of Dracula from the same year, Mr. Gorey adds two splashes of bright red to the monochromatic drawing for emphasis. Mr. Gorey also uses this exact style of coloration to great effect on his poster for the 1975 Lillian Hellman Tribute (see my post from September 19, 2009)

This volume could have only been improved by the addition of more illustrations by Mr. Gorey.

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