Friday, May 09, 2008

Lunchtime read: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and other stories

This collection finishes with two stories that both concern murder and the idea of the moral consequences of those acts.

The Body-Snatcher
A chance meeting in the pub between a practicing doctor and one locally known only as such as a nickname meet and the odd scene between them leads to the village trying to find out the history. The words uttered by the local man to the doctor from London, “Do you still see him?” get minds wandering.

The story turns out to be a tale of murder and ghoulishness with a man killed and then dissected by students turning up in one piece in a grave miles from Edinburgh. Just as with the evil that starts to creep up on Dr. Jekyll the sense of boundaries blur and it is only with the intervention of higher powers – the devil presumably – that the end comes to the crimes. At least both of the doctors get the chance to live another day.

Markheim

The thief driven to murder because of bad luck on the stock exchange meets with the devil that tells him that he can only escape by killing the maid and then making his escape. But as the devil boasts of knowing and watching Markheim make the descent from thief to murderer the focus of the story takes a change and as he opens the door to the maid he announced his guilt and asks for the police.

It is a positive way to end a collection of stories that question the evil in all of us and just have far it needs to go before that consumes us and makes us not just perpetrators of foul deeds but beyond saving.

A review will follow soon…

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