Read “The Strange High House in the Mist”
To the many excellent reviews already posted, I'll simply add my praise for two stories in this collection, The Strange High House in the Mist"
and “The Music of Erich Zann”
I prefer these two, precisely because they doesn’t rely on the Cthulhu Mythos. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the mythos that Lovecraft created. I enjoy fantastic worlds in general and I admire Lovecraft’s tenacity in crafting his own.
Unfortunately, many of the short stories and novellas upon which he built the Cthulhu Mythos fail to place the reader in the invented universe. Lovecraft felt it necessary to undergird many of his works with a mythos so consistent and complete that it drained the mystery right out of them.
Not so with “The Music of Erich Zann”
. Here the narrator unburdens himself of memories that he can’t explain. They may be false memories or the universe may have changed its rules without informing him. Lovecraft never tells the reader. To do so would ruin the story, because it’s the mystery that makes it beautiful. It is a pleasure for the reader to suspend disbelief.
In “The Strange High House in the Mist”, Lovecraft presents us with another interface between our prosaic world and a frightening, enticing Beyond. The pleasure comes not from visceral fear of giant octopi or disgust at the sight of a decomposing corpse, but from unclenching one's mind; from allowing oneself to imagine that, for generations, no one in a tiny fishing village has been curious about a plainly visible house on nearby cliff to climb up and have a look.