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Tales of Mystery and Madness

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A sweet little cat drives a man to insanity and murder.... The grim death known as the plague roams a masquerade ball dressed in red....

A dwarf seeks his final revenge on his captors....

A sister calls to her beloved twin from beyond the grave....

Prepare yourself. You are about to enter a world where you will be shocked, terrified, and, though you'll be too scared to admit it at first, secretly thrilled. Here are four tales -- "The Black Cat, The Masque of the Red Death, Hop-Frog, " and "The Fall of the House of Usher" -- by the master of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. The original tales have been ever so slightly dismembered -- but, of course, Poe understood dismemberment very well. And he would shriek in ghoulish delight at Gris Grimly's gruesomely delectable illustrations that adorn every page. So prepare yourself. And keep the lights on.

135 pages, Hardcover

Published August 30, 2011

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About the author

Edgar Allan Poe

8,453 books24.1k followers
The name Poe brings to mind images of murderers and madmen, premature burials, and mysterious women who return from the dead. His works have been in print since 1827 and include such literary classics as The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, and The Fall of the House of Usher. This versatile writer’s oeuvre includes short stories, poetry, a novel, a textbook, a book of scientific theory, and hundreds of essays and book reviews. He is widely acknowledged as the inventor of the modern detective story and an innovator in the science fiction genre, but he made his living as America’s first great literary critic and theoretician. Poe’s reputation today rests primarily on his tales of terror as well as on his haunting lyric poetry.

Just as the bizarre characters in Poe’s stories have captured the public imagination so too has Poe himself. He is seen as a morbid, mysterious figure lurking in the shadows of moonlit cemeteries or crumbling castles. This is the Poe of legend. But much of what we know about Poe is wrong, the product of a biography written by one of his enemies in an attempt to defame the author’s name.

The real Poe was born to traveling actors in Boston on January 19, 1809. Edgar was the second of three children. His other brother William Henry Leonard Poe would also become a poet before his early death, and Poe’s sister Rosalie Poe would grow up to teach penmanship at a Richmond girls’ school. Within three years of Poe’s birth both of his parents had died, and he was taken in by the wealthy tobacco merchant John Allan and his wife Frances Valentine Allan in Richmond, Virginia while Poe’s siblings went to live with other families. Mr. Allan would rear Poe to be a businessman and a Virginia gentleman, but Poe had dreams of being a writer in emulation of his childhood hero the British poet Lord Byron. Early poetic verses found written in a young Poe’s handwriting on the backs of Allan’s ledger sheets reveal how little interest Poe had in the tobacco business.

For more information, please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_al...

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5 stars
1,361 (51%)
4 stars
899 (33%)
3 stars
320 (12%)
2 stars
50 (1%)
1 star
19 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 189 reviews
Profile Image for Andrew.
2,192 reviews
October 9, 2015
So how did I learn of this book - to be honest I do not remember, what I can say is that it was from this site and someone I was following (so who ever it was thank you). I think this is one of GR's successes.

This book takes four of Poe's classic tales (The black cat, the masque of the red death, Hop-frog and the fall of the house of Usher) and retells the stories with artwork and dramatic editing (various layout changes, fonts and other embellishments) so that you end up with a totally new and fresh way of telling the stories but they are still pretty true to the originals.

I remember a short while ago reading a graphic novel with "modern retelling" of the stories - now they too had art to support the narrative but in addition the dialogue also had been updated and changed, this book though a more jovial and possibly juvenile approach I think still has the air of Poe's original work and for me has a greater flair for the gothic. My only wish was that there were more stories covered in this fashion but sadly I guess the editor had to draw the line somewhere

So what to say of the stories - well usually I would declare no spoilers and look elsewhere for better reviews but with stories as well known and accessible as the 4 Poe's tales there is little need for that but for once I think the star is not the text but the combination of text and artwork and for me that is what makes this book work so well. If you have ever read Poe and enjoyed his style and imagery then this is a pleasure to read and a joy to own.
Profile Image for Avery (ThePagemaster).
595 reviews88 followers
October 11, 2016
First off, let me say this, if I haven't: I'm a huge fan of Edgar Allan Poe. His stories and poems woke my creativity; made me appreciate the macabre and morbidity that transcended what people in his time grew accustomed to--Austen, Dickens, etc. Without him, I think we wouldn't have people like Tim Burton, Bram Stoker, Marilyn Manson, Neil Gaiman. He was a man so underappreciated, so misunderstood and so before his time.

With that said, with the added Gris Grimly illustrations seemed to deepen the creep factor. I, also, took Neil Gaiman's advice and read Poe out loud, which made me firmly grasp his language, descriptions, imagery and metaphors--which there is a lot of, in his stories. I always try to read at least one Poe story this time of year; my favorite one from this collection is probably Black Cat, with Masque of the Red Death, a close second.
Profile Image for Kornela.
195 reviews
October 22, 2017
When I was 15 or so, I really wanted to be angsty and gothic and dark and mysterious. I bought this book of Poe’s short stories and attempted to read it, but it didn’t hold my attention at the time. Now, many years later I dug it out and decided to give it another chance. I read a few stories each night and they made for fun Halloween-y type reading. First off, everything I had known of and heard about Poe didn’t really prepare me for how demented his stories really are. I mean totally bonkers, bananas crazy. Seriously, this guy must have been a fascinating dinner conversationalist with all of this going on in his mind. Some of the stories were only a few pages long but Poe is a master at building up suspense and doom in a short amount of time and almost always wallops you with a sly or shocking twist ending. That’s truly an accomplishment in only 5 or so pages. The stand outs for me were: The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, The Pit and the Pendulum, and The Fall of the House of Usher, but I enjoyed all of the stories. The angsty 15-year old in me was greatly satisfied and the adult me enjoyed the ride as well.
Profile Image for Andria Potter.
Author 2 books52 followers
October 12, 2022
Cleverly written with entertaining art who doesn't love Poe, especially during spooky season?
Profile Image for Melissa Chung.
904 reviews324 followers
March 7, 2021
As a lover of Poe, I'm extremely biased. As a fan of Gris Grimly's illustrations, I'm even more so. I bought this book years ago because I love anything Poe and to have a "graphic novel" collection of some of Poe's stories was a treat.

This book contains 4 short stories. One of which I have read several times in my life, 'The Fall of the House of Usher' and three that are new to me: 'The Black Cat', 'The Masque of the Red Death' and 'Hop-Frog'.

Let's get into it!!

'The Black Cat' -"For the most wild yet most homely narrative I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief...But tomorrow I die, and today I would unburden my soul." A man has no feelings for others except for his solid black cat who he has affectionately named Pluto. The man does not like the fact he has feelings for his cat and soon gets rid of Pluto. "But the cat came back the very next day, the cat came back, they thought he was a goner...." I thought this old 1893 song written by Harry S. Miller fit the story perfectly. The illustrations that Gris Grimly adds to the story is just so perfect. I wish all of my classics could be illustrated by Grimly. In the end the cat gets back at our deranged narrator when he is "accidently" bricked into a cellar wall with the body of the narrator's wife. (Was this a common thing in the past? Poe uses this way of concealing a body more than once in his short stories).

'The Masque of the Red Death' is the second story in this collection. I own a re-telling by Bethany Griffin and now that I've read the original, can't wait to dive in. This story is about an illness that spreads quickly through the lands. "Blood was its avatar and its seal..." Prince Prospero asked a thousand of his closest friends to one of his castellated abbeys. "The abbey was amply provisioned...bid defiance to contagion...the prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure." So the Prince and company spend half a year like this. One day the Prince holds a masquerade. There are 7 rooms all with 7 different colored stained glass windows. Each chamber painted in a certain color: blue, purple, green, orange, white, violet and red. However the latter furniture did not match it's tinted surroundings. This room was shrouded in black velvet. "In this apartment stood a gigantic clock of ebony...there were few of the company bold enough to set foot within its precincts." At midnight the clock began it's twelve strokes and with this came a masked figure "shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave." The figure walks toward the 7th chamber with it's red film. This is were the story ends. I don't want to give away the ending, but I loved the rooms and can't wait to read a re-telling of this story.

The final story I had not read before is Hop-Frog. This is about a King's jester and dwarf happily named Hop Frog because of his "inability to walk as other men do...he certainly much more resembled a squirrel, or a small monkey, than a frog." The King instructs Hop Frog to entertain him and his guests. One way to do this is to get Hop Frog drunk. Trippeta Hop Frog's best friend and fellow dwarf knows that this is a bad idea, but who is to say no to the King? Again and again the King demands Hop Frog to drink. As the night goes on Hop -Frog comes up with a plan for the entertainment; a masquerade is to be held. The Eight Chained Ourang-Outangs will be performed said the dwarf and you and your friends will be the actors. The King and friends love this idea and quickly get dressed in the costumes. "The excitement among the masqueraders was prodigious and filled the heart of the king with glee." What the King wasn't expecting was the end. Another fun and macabre story that focuses on revenge.

Very much enjoyed the new stories and loved the illustrations. I of course gave this book 5 stars.
Profile Image for Armand.
184 reviews28 followers
December 12, 2019
I was at first skeptical about this book. I fancy Gris Grimly works as much as the next guy, but I thought his cartoon-like art might not really be a good fit for Poe's dark oeuvre. I guess I should have parsed the intention behind this book better since I ended up really liking it.

While the text of the original stories may have been trimmed, there were very few changes to the actual words themselves, so it would be more accurate to call this an abridgement rather than an adaptation or retelling. I prefer that, by the way, since it still preserves the feel and cadence of the original while making the stories more immediate for its audience.

I guess it aims to present a version that's more accessible and less threatening/morbid to kids who may just be dipping their toes into classic literature. In this, I feel like it largely succeeded since the illustrations leant a lighter and whimsical (but still gothic) atmosphere to the usually somber and leaden tone of the original stories. And really, I don't feel like the book did Poe's works a disservice since it isn't dumbed down at all. Taken on its own, it is a very pleasurable read. 

I'm rating it 7/10 or 3 stars out of 5.
Profile Image for thelastmohawkin.
7 reviews1 follower
December 3, 2015
Such a great intro to Poe for kids!
Especially kids going through the goth phase!
What better time to discover Poe??

I read this book in middle school during my goth phase and I'm so glad that I did. It opened my eyes to a whole new world of books. While Harry Potter was great, I feel that my next step would have been the terrible endless road of teen fiction.
It can serve a person well to discover some good old fashioned American Literature early in life.
Profile Image for Katarzyna Nowicka.
538 reviews14 followers
November 10, 2019
Kto nie slyszal o Edgarze Alanie Poe?
Ten XIX wieczny pisarz po dzis dzien inspiruje wspolczesnych autorow.
Jego fantastyczna wyobraznia, zamilowanie do makabry, fantastyki i horroru, ale przy tym poetycki jezyk sprawily, ze chce blizej zapoznac sie z panem Poe.
Ten zbiorek zawiera cztery makabreski : Czarny kot, Maska czerwonej smierci, Zaboskoczek i Upadek domu Usherow.
Te historie wywoluja gesia skorke, opowiadania niby bajkowe, ale szalone, mroczne i makabryczne.
Ponad to urzekly mnie cudowne, mroczne ilustracje wykonane przez Grisa Grimly, ktore sa wspanialym uzupelnieniem tych historyjek.
Ja jestem pod wrazeniem.
A czy wiecie, ze Edgar Allan Poe stworzyl nowele kryminalne i wykreowal pierwsza w literaturze postac detektywa😉?
Profile Image for R.A..
Author 1 book14 followers
February 14, 2017
Four stories are illustrated in this collection: "The Black Cat," "The Masque of the Red Death," "Hop-Frog," and "The Fall of the House of Usher." Gris Grimly's style is perfectly suited to Poe.
Profile Image for Gieliza.
364 reviews27 followers
October 21, 2017
5 stars!

Gris Grimly's art is superb in this volume. Of the stories included here, I particularly liked The Masque of the Red Death and The Fall of the House of Usher. Edgar Allan Poe can be relied upon to bring on the creeps. Hughly recommended!
Profile Image for Agustina Dapueto (Agus The Reader).
184 reviews66 followers
March 2, 2017
In general I just have to say that the illustrations within this book are stunning. Grimly's art work goes very well with the tone of Poe's stories. About Poe's tales, let me tell you, that man had a twisted mind indeed. Very excited to explore more of his works in the future.

The Black Cat ★★★☆☆
The story was entertaning and creepy, like it's expected from the author. I must say, I found myself loathing the main character and that's why I gave it three stars. For some reason the story made me feel unhappy and angry so I don't think I will be rereading this one anytime soon.

The Masque of the Red Death ★★★★☆
I think this one was my favorite tale. It was very poetic (no pun intended) and I was very satisfied with the ending.The illustrations were particularly beautiful during this tale. Colors and tones are important per se in this tale and Grimly did a really good job translating Poe's words.

Hop-Frog ★★★★☆
I found this story to be similar to "The Masque of the Red Death" in a way. Had the same feeling of "justice has been served" at the end.

The Fall of the House Usher ★★☆☆☆
As you can see, this was my least favorite story from this collection. It was wierd like all of Poe's literature, but it wan't a "good" weird for me, it was just boring. Too many descriptions for my taste and I felt like nothing was really happening. I didn't get any kind of ulterior message at the end either and I couldn't find myself invested in any of the characters.
Profile Image for Spencer.
1,425 reviews34 followers
March 20, 2017
I have already read these tales by Poe before but I still enjoyed re-reading them in this short collection, they're well written stories that capture your attention and all end in a satisfying way. The book is also illustrated by Gris Grimly with some beautiful and charming art which works wonderfully well with the accompanying stories and adds to your enjoyment of them.
Profile Image for Mauoijenn.
1,127 reviews111 followers
October 8, 2011
Loved it. Loved it. I want to run out and buy it. I was lucky to snag this beauty at the library today. This should be a Halloween book on everyone's shelf!!
Profile Image for Auri.
31 reviews1 follower
May 28, 2013
I checked out this book because the illustrations are so cool! The macabre beauty of Gris Grimly's drawings capture the spirit of Poe in such a delightful way.
Profile Image for Abby Van Purandy.
20 reviews16 followers
September 23, 2015
ich habe mich heute Abend absolut in die Illustrationen von Gris Grimly verliebt. etwas besseres könnte Geschichten von Poe nicht begleiten :)
Profile Image for Rachel.
925 reviews9 followers
October 2, 2018
This contains four of Poe’s short stories: The Black Cat, The Masque of the Red Death, Hop-Frog, and The Fall of the House of Usher. The Masque of the Red Death has long been a favorite of mine, but Hop-Frog was horrifying. I’d never read it before today. I loved every gruesome minute of it! 😱

What makes this collection special are the illustrations by Gris Grimly. They are wonderfully creepy, and capture the madness of Poe’s prose perfectly. I own one other Gris Grimly illustrated collection of Poe’s short stories. I hope there are more collections available, because I NEED them. 4.5 stars.
Profile Image for Mark Fallon.
786 reviews24 followers
October 10, 2020
Inspired to read after someone tweeted a comparison of the current pandemic to "The Masque of the Red Death". Glad I did, and I will be sure to read more Poe in the future.

Gris Grimly's illustrations are amazing and capture the essence of Poe's sense of the macabre.

I do wonder what Poe would think about the library shelving this book in the YA section....
Profile Image for Breña.
468 reviews6 followers
October 28, 2022
Enthalten sind vier Kurzgeschichten, die überaus üppig von Grimly illustriert sind. Keine Seite gleicht der anderen und die schrägen Zeichnungen nehmen die Atmosphäre, die Poe schafft, wunderbar auf. Und zu Poes Werken muss ich nicht viel sagen, oder?
Ein tolles Buch, ich muss mir unbedingt das zweite von Grimly mit Kurzgeschichten von Poe zulegen.
Profile Image for Natalie.
64 reviews
December 4, 2022
The artwork that goes with this is so perfect and pairs incredibly well with all of the poems. Even if you have trouble understanding the words right off the bat, the pictures can pull most people through. The artist is so talented and I love how grotesque both the stories and the art pieces are when they intertwine.
Profile Image for Faith.
25 reviews
January 16, 2020
If you enjoy Edgar Allan Poe and/or Tim Burton, you will enjoy this book. With gruesome and delightfully dreadful art, Illustrator Gris Grimly brings four of Poe's most frightening and entertaining tales (The Black Cat, Hop-Frog, The Masque of the Red Death, and The Fall of the House of Usher) to life with his own Tim Burton-esque art style. And I love it. 5/5 Stars
Profile Image for Zombaby Cera.
182 reviews
October 26, 2020
A bit abridged,but great graphic versions of the classics. The drawings are crude, which only adds to the ghastly quality.
Profile Image for Stephanie (aka WW).
783 reviews10 followers
December 24, 2021
Classic scary stuff from Poe, wonderfully illustrated by Gris Grimly. Now this is how you do a graphic novel…or a graphic short story anyway.
2 reviews
November 3, 2017
Is a good book, if you like weird and mysterious short stories, unexpected things that go out of context and make the paragraph interested and readable.
The book is divided in 4 short stories, the first "The Black Cat" is kind of tricky, you try the predict what's going to happen and then you realise that the story is going in a different direction.
In the short story "The masque of the red death", the story is right in the line between the fiction and the reality, where the plague is a fact, what is happening is fiction, an imaginary place and people.

Profile Image for Bree.
287 reviews20 followers
March 29, 2020
As mentioned in my review on the Terry Fan book I collect (what I consider) beautifully illustrated children’s books. I happen to LOVE Gris Grimley’s style so I went to my local library to check out this book and his Sleepy Hollow book.

This one not only has his amazing illustrations, but it’s a whole bunch of brilliant Edgar Allen Poe stories, which go together perfectly!! I prefer this set of stories to Sleepy Hollow—but that is more of a statement on my preference of Poe over that of Washington Irving, rather than a review of the illustrations. Gris Grimely is as odd and perfectly paired with these writers as usual. My favorite Gris Grimely is still his Frankenstein graphic novel.
Profile Image for Damien.
243 reviews30 followers
June 17, 2009
The artwork was very cute... in fact, a little too cute. It turned the genius of Poe into a "Beetlejuice" cartoon, or something on that level. But all the same, I liked it. And as much as I love Poe, I'm realizing that what people considered horror 150 years ago barely disturbs a pre-adolescent today. Or maybe I'm just too familiar with the stories? Because, in this case, the artwork worked very well for "Hop-Frog", the least famous of the 4 stories illustrated. And, along the same lines, I liked that story even better than "Fall of the House of Usher" or "The Black Cat", which are two of my favorites by Poe.
Profile Image for Jackie.
521 reviews63 followers
September 5, 2013
I felt like I couldn't really go wrong with this book. I means it's freaking Poe. Even his worst story is awesome compared to the junk that gets published these days.

Four of Poe's stories are featured in this book: The Black Cat, The Masque of the Red Death, Hop-Frog and The Fall of the House of Usher. The stories are great and Gris Grimly's illustrations highlight the text nicely. I definitely recommend this one for Halloween time or even as a gift to teens being introduced to Poe. Keep in mind that the first story contains animal abuse, so if you're sensitive to animal abuse skip that one.
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