"The most effective shocker yet invented by the author of The Beetle. Grim, fantastic and humorous in an original fashion." - The World
"Weird, grotesque and comical. Told with the spirit and vigour that we have learnt to expect in the work of Mr. Marsh." - The Speaker
Curios is a series of seven short stories narrated alternately by Mr. Pugh and Mr. Tress, rival collectors of "curios", who are sometimes best of friends and often worst of enemies. Pugh is superstitious, tending to believe every antique he comes across is haunted. Tress is cold and cynical and will stop at nothing - even theft or murder - to add to his collection.
Ranging in tone from horrifying to mysterious to darkly comical, these stories follow Tress and Pugh as they come in contact with an array of strange objects, including a poisoned pipe that seems to come to life when smoked, a 13th century severed hand bent on murder, and a phonograph record on which a murdered woman speaks from beyond the grave.
Curios was first published in 1898, the year following Marsh's greatest success, The Beetle. Owing to the poor quality materials of which it was made, only a handful of copies of the first edition of Curios have survived. This edition reprints the unabridged text of the first edition, restoring this delectably gruesome and hilarious book to modern audiences.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Here is the review I wrote for Amazon. Curios: Some Strange Adventures of Two Bachelors" by Richard Marsh is a collection of seven short stories told from the perspectives of two rival collectors - the easily-excited Mr. Pugh and the sinister Mr. Tress. Sometimes they manage to work together to solve the mystery of their latest curio, the rest of the time they spend trying to deceive each other. It's this odd and complex friendship that brings a delightfully dark humor to each story. The adventures vary in theme and are each fun in their own right, though my favorite definitely has to be "The Adventure of Lady Wishaw's Hand" because it's the most gothic and interesting in the collection; although the funniest would have to be "...the Phonograph," thanks to the hilarious antics and interactions of the two gentlemen. I don't want to ruin the experience by giving away too many details, so I've listed each of the titles below. The Adventure of the Pipe The Adventure of the Phonograph The Adventure of the Cabinet The Adventure of the Ikon The Adventure of the Puzzle The Adventure of Lady Wishaw's Hand The Adventure of the Great Auk's Egg "Curios" was originally published in 1898 but has been reissued by Valancourt Books, a small press dedicated to bringing back forgotten literature from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. They've done a fantastic job with this little gem and have introduced me other amazing works by Richard Marsh.
I didn't really care for this book. The main two characters Mr. Pugh and Mr. Tress weren't really all that developed. I found it hard to understand how they felt about each other. They kept talking about being friends and yet they were so underhanded and deceiving with each other. The stories themselves were really odd. They items that the two collectors find were very unique, but that's about where the interest ended for me.I couldn't get into the writing, I couldn't connect to the characters, and the stories were just too odd for me.