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Archive Horror > 2020 September: The Monkey's Paw and Other Tales of Mystery and Macabre

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message 1: by Patrick, From USA Sci-fi/Fantasy & Horror (last edited Sep 02, 2020 08:20AM) (new)

Patrick | 651 comments Mod
Many people have encountered the story "The Monkey's Paw," anthologized nearly 70 times in horror collections alone. Most do not know, however, that its author, W.W. Jacobs, was an immensely popular writer from the 1890s through the Second World War, selling many tens of thousands of copies of his 13 short story collections. His craftsmanship was admired by such authors as G.K. Chesterton and Evelyn Waugh.

Jacobs mostly wrote humorous short stories about humble seafaring folk, but "The Monkey's Paw" is by no means his only tale of the macabre. This collection contains 18 stories with subjects including haunted houses, vengeful ghosts, guilty murderers and people faking supernatural phenomena.

"The Monkey's Paw" is, of course, a moral tale about how there's always a price to pay if you interfere with what's natural.

Enjoy!!


message 2: by Samantha, Cajun Literary Belle (new)

Samantha Matherne (cajunliterarybelle) | 2438 comments Mod
A great spooky book to kickstart the fall season. I’m excited.


message 3: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new)

Rosemarie | 8545 comments Mod
Re Monkey's Paw- Be careful what you wish for!


message 4: by Jazzy (last edited Sep 02, 2020 11:01AM) (new)

Jazzy Lemon (jazzylemon) There is an Alfred Hitchcock Hour show about The Monkey's Paw too, modernised of course, and the son is a racecar driver. You can see it on youtube.




message 5: by Georgina (new)

Georgina (georgiet29) | 240 comments I’ll join you for this one, I’m trying to squeeze a lot in this month so I may be a late starter though.


message 6: by Georgina (new)

Georgina (georgiet29) | 240 comments I’ve finished, I hadn’t realised how short this was. It’s a classic and I enjoyed it.


message 7: by Jazzy (new)

Jazzy Lemon (jazzylemon) It's a short story, usually accompanied by many more short stories in one book. I did enjoy the whole book, some of the stories were scary but rather enjoyable.


message 8: by Georgina (new)

Georgina (georgiet29) | 240 comments I just got an ebook of the one story, I’ll see if I can find the full book as I’d like to read more.


message 9: by Jazzy (new)

Jazzy Lemon (jazzylemon) I got a copy second hand for a couple of quid.

The Monkey's Paw and Other Tales of Mystery and Macabre


message 10: by Georgina (new)

Georgina (georgiet29) | 240 comments Thanks Jazzy, I can’t find it at a decent price anywhere but I’ve found the full collection that the ebook I had was taken from on Gutenberg so I’ll start with that and keep my eyes peeled in the local charity shops and used bookshops 👀📚


message 11: by Bernard (new)

Bernard Smith | 2131 comments I had this read to me at school. I was of course hiding behind a sofa.


message 12: by Jazzy (new)

Jazzy Lemon (jazzylemon) They had sofas at school?


message 13: by Shaina (new)

Shaina | 151 comments I just started this book the day before yesterday. Enjoying it so far. I'm going slow with a story a day.


message 14: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new)

Rosemarie | 8545 comments Mod
The Monkey's Paw would be a great story to read out loud and create a lot of suspense in the last few pages. Great story!


message 15: by Jazzy (new)

Jazzy Lemon (jazzylemon) When we were kids (Me, Scott, and Diane - in age order) my mum and her friend, Mrs. Martin, who also had three kids (Kim, Jerry, and Bobby - also in age order) used to tell us spooky stories.

We were begging Mrs Martin to tell us a scary story, so she started one about some strange boxes left in a dark alleyway, then she said, there were these six kids and named us all and the last was Bobby, when Jerry put his hand on his mother's arm and said - Don't put Bobby in it, he'll ruin everything!


message 16: by Patrick, From USA Sci-fi/Fantasy & Horror (new)

Patrick | 651 comments Mod
Anyone have a favorite story so far?


message 17: by Jazzy (new)

Jazzy Lemon (jazzylemon) I really liked the nautical stories.


message 18: by Canavan (new)

Canavan | 125 comments Joining the discussion rather late — I just looked at the first few stories over lunch today.

“The Monkey’s Paw” is one of those stories with which the public is so familiar that I fear it has over time lost a bit of its power; it’s difficult to realize until you actually sit down to re-read it what an almost perfectly told gem it is.

If you enjoy podcasts, Will Ross and Mike Taylor talk at length about this particular Jacobs story, its influences and what it, in turn, has influenced in an episode from “A Podcast to the Curious” (devoted largely to the writings of M. R. James, but also touching on the stories of similar authors from roughly that same period). See here.

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message 19: by Canavan (new)

Canavan | 125 comments Aside from “The Monkey’s Paw”, there are a handful of Jacobs stories in this Gary Hoppenstand-compiled book that have been anthologized a slew of times over the decades; that handful would include both “The Toll-House” and “The Well”.

It’s been quite a while since I last read “The Well”. (view spoiler)

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message 20: by Jazzy (new)

Jazzy Lemon (jazzylemon) Yes The Well is a stunner!


message 21: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new)

Rosemarie | 8545 comments Mod
I just finished reading The Well-it is creepy.


message 22: by Canavan (new)

Canavan | 125 comments In “The Three Sisters” Jacobs treats us to a story that’s kind of a mash-up of (view spoiler)

I personally find “Sisters” to be one of Jacobs’ lesser tales, perhaps because it has such a rushed feel to it, especially in its closing moments.

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message 23: by Canavan (new)

Canavan | 125 comments “The Toll-House” remains one of my favorite haunted house stories, although the precise nature of the haunting remains a wee bit obscure. (view spoiler)


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message 24: by Canavan (new)

Canavan | 125 comments “Jerry Bundler” is one of Jacobs' more popular stories, having appeared over the years in a number of ghostly anthologies, although (view spoiler)

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message 25: by Bernard (new)

Bernard Smith | 2131 comments Canavan wrote: "In “The Three Sisters” Jacobs treats us to a story that’s kind of a mash-up of [spoilers removed]

I personally find “Sisters” to be one of Jacobs’ lesser tales, perhaps because it h..."


He stole the title from Chekhov!


message 26: by Canavan (new)

Canavan | 125 comments “His Brother’s Keeper” is a (view spoiler)

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message 27: by Canavan (last edited Sep 23, 2020 12:03PM) (new)

Canavan | 125 comments “The Interruption” is (view spoiler)

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message 28: by Patrick, From USA Sci-fi/Fantasy & Horror (new)

Patrick | 651 comments Mod
Glad everyone enjoyed these stories!


message 29: by Shaina (new)

Shaina | 151 comments I just finished the book. I loved all the stories. I found 'The Vigil' really funny ( I was laughing out loud ). I found this compilation very interesting and would like to read more of this stuff. My favourite spooky stories were ' The Toll House ', ' Monkey's Paw ' and ' Jerry Bundler '.

I'm sure I wouldn't have read this if not for this group. Thank you for selecting this anthology.


message 30: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new)

Rosemarie | 8545 comments Mod
I'm glad you enjoyed it, Shaina.


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