Maybe I procrastinated all this time because deep down I felt I really would be scared by Chris Priestley’s stories in his series of terror. The first one, Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror is pretty terrible. I’m the type who thinks that because I’m an adult and used to reading both this and that, I will be fine. Small children might be scared, but not me.
As I mentioned earlier, I read this collection of short stories mostly on the train. That’s nice and safe. Surrounded by masses of people and in daylight. Didn’t help. Chris is still a master of terror.
It’s the things he doesn’t hesitate to do to children. Girls, even. And it’s never of the ‘we will feel frightened for a bit but then all will be well’ variety. It gets worse at the end. Children die. They suffer all sorts of unmentionable ends. (To their lives, as well as to their stories.)
Whether I would have been less worried if I was young enough to be one of Chris’s victims, I don’t know. Might I have been carefree or stupid like most of his characters? And I couldn’t quite work out whether the boy Edgar, who visits his uncle Montague for a story-telling session, is safe or if he too will meet some terrible end.
So if you like falling from great heights or if you want to be turned into a tree or to be cursed or just to be scared silly, then look no further. If not, I suggest you find a book about kittens.
Or not. Kittens aren’t necessarily terror-free.
The paperback version has a bonus story at the end. So just when you thought it was safe, Chris plunges Edgar back into the world of tales of terror.