Masques of Satan by Reggie Oliver
Tradepaperback – Tartarus Press – Feb2016
This is Reggie Oliver’s third collection of stories, now reprinted, which contains many tales set in the world of the theatre which he knows so well. ‘Puss-Cat’ concerns a great Shakespearian actor and an all too attentive theatre cat, ‘The Road from Damascus’ takes a young actor on a dark journey through theatrical politics, and ‘Mr Poo-Poo’ is a children’s entertainer who has obsessive desires and an unhealthy preoccupation with Hell.
In other stories a sinister medium enthrals a writer of detective stories in ‘The Old Silence’, a family visiting a famous country house find themselves in the mysterious ‘grey bedroom’ with a very strange guide, and in ‘The Children of Monte Rosa’ a boy with his parents on holiday in Portugal is invited to lunch by an expatriate couple and meets a boy who seems to be the wrong size.
The novella ‘Shades of the Prison House’ about the evolution of evil in an adolescent boy during the course of a summer season of variety at a seaside theatre is one of Oliver’s most original and disturbing creations. This book also contains a period piece ‘The Silver Cord’ set in 1890s London which won the Arthur Machen short story prize.
Reggie Oliver is an English playwright, biographer and writer of ghost stories. His work has appeared in a number of anthologies, including the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror and The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror.
Masques of Satan contains: ‘Introductory’, ‘The Man in the Grey Bedroom’, ‘Grab a Granny Night’, ‘The Children of Monte Rosa’, ‘Mr Poo-Poo’, ‘The Silver Cord’, ‘The Road from Damascus’, ‘Mmm-Delicious’, ‘Puss-Cat’, ‘The Old Silence’, ‘Music by Moonlight’, ‘Blind Man’s Box’, ‘Shades of the Prison House, a novella’, ‘The End of History’.