The Complete Short Stories / Published by Penguin / ISBN 9780141184494

Improper Stories / Published by Daunt Books / ISBN  9781907970009

Best Short Stories, Collector’s Library / Published by Pan Macmillan (Small pocket book, all edges gilt)

Saki, otherwise known as Hector Hugh Munro wrote the very best short stories. I have listed the details of three different editions – one of which is sadly out of print – as, though the Improper Stories contains some of the best – it does not include all my favourites which were published in the Collector’s Library edition and the Complete Short Stories, has too many of the others – though I do enjoy those too… He was a remarkable story teller. Which brings me to the title of Daunt Books edition – Improper Stories, a phrase taken from a short story called The Story-Teller – about a man in a train, with a woman travelling with two small children….

I cannot choose my favourite – they are  all on the whole, dark and twisted – at least my favourites are: Sredni Vashtar, The Open Window, The Music on the Hill, The Lumber Room, The Schartz-Metterklume Method, Laura, Morlvera…to name a very few.

I was introduced to HH Munro / Saki by a teacher in St Hilda’s School in Bushey. I can’t say I remember learning very much there, however, this particular teacher read the story of Tobomory and though I don’t believe I was made aware of the other stories at that point, I was hooked.

They are glorious and superb. I was once talking to a customer, (I have sold many, many copies of collections of Saki over the years), about the stories when he asked if I would be kind enough to mark in his freshly purchased copy the tales he should read. I started by placing little dots by each title in the Contents pages…after a while he said ‘It would have been easier to have asked you to mark the ones you least like!’

They can be very short – just a glorious canapé of a story, or just a sandwich length. The only problem is that once you start, like a gorgeous box of chocolates, you will go on to the next, and then the one after…