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Poe's immense powers as a storyteller are at their peak in this anthology containing nine of his best-known short stories. Among them are "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," a gripping 19th-century detective story that provided a model for future mystery writers; "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Masque of the Red Death," pervaded with eerie thoughts, impulses and fears; "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Cask of Amontillado," masterpieces of wickedness and crime; "The Pit and the Pendulum," with its agonizing specter of imminent and horrifying death; and "The Gold-Bug," a fascinating detective story that combines romance and adventure in an absorbing tale of buried treasure. Recognized today as the undisputed master of the American Gothic horror story, Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) revealed his genius in tales of death, terror, evil and perversity. Highly skilled in achieving a calculated psychological effect, Poe created chilling fictional nightmares permeated by mysterious forces, grotesque creatures and improbable hallucinations.