Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Halfway Through

We're half way through Life's Handicap now- and the stories are getting shorter and slighter.

"The Mutiny of The Mavericks" is about an attempt by an international terrorist group to infiltrate and subvert an Irish Regiment. We're not told what I.A.A means, but I'm guessing one of those 'A's stands for Anarchist. It's a rollicking yarn in Kipling's richest vein of pitch-black jocularity. The moral I draw is that our great-great-grandparents were less rattled by terrorists than we are.

"The Mark of the Beast" was once notorious for its brutality. By the standards of today's torture porn it's a mild little thing, but it ruffled feathers in the 1890s. A white man- Strickland of the police- uses heated gun barrels and loops of fishing line on an oriental- how utterly unheard of!  For all that its shock value has faded, it is still pretty damn amazing.

"The Return of Imray"  features Strickland again- a character with Holmes-like characteristics, to whom Kipling returned- at intervals- all through his writing career. Here he solves a not very challenging murder mystery. There is also a remarkably convincing ghost. 
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