Thrills, Chills, 'Tales of Terror'; Book Offers Six Stories from the Original Horror Master, Edgar Allan Poe

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Byline: Brandy Hilboldt Allport

The king of creep -- not Stephen, but the original one, Edgar Allan Poe -- wrote brooding stories hinging on the ugliest of human emotions: guilt, revenge, murderous rage. His yarns sometimes involve supernatural elements. Other times, the chilling tone comes from the twisted psyche of the narrator.

Many literary critics refer to Poe (1809-49) as "the father of the modern detective thriller." Some of his best-known works are in a new compendium, Tales of Terror (Alfred A. Knopf; $15.95; ages 12 and older). The six stories are The Masque of the Red Death, The Black Cat, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, and The Fall of the House of Usher.

Most adults met Poe for the first time during high school English classes, and Tales provides a chance to introduce new generations to a classic figure. What better time than Halloween?

Accompanying each story is an introduction by author and illustrator Michael McCurdy. These paragraphs offer little-known facts associated with the often-read tales. …