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Laughing Skull is yet another collection of “scary” stories from India’s favourite author, Ruskin Bond. And it has one of his greatest trademarks throughout, his nostalgia. I’ve sort of grown up reading RB, as most other children here and what I loved most among his books was A Face In The Fark And Other Hauntinfs. I remember sitting in my cocoon swing and reading it into the night while wrapped up in a big blanket to keep the cold(and the potential ghosts) away. 

Id lost that book somewhere between numerous moves and the book’s own tattered condition but the memory of it is strong in my mind. So when I was offered Laughing Skull I accepted it with excitement.

The collections are so similar, especially because I remember reading a few of these stories as a child in the other collection. Not all, just a few so I don’t know if that’s just memory and if this is the same collection with a new name or if it’s a new collection with some old favourites. But whatever it was it provided the trademark Ruskin Bond feeling of coziness. Set in the hills, as usual, these stories feature our favourite Bond ghost and landmarks, hostels, graveyards and lady ghosts that cause accidents being some of my personal favourite.

These are the stories you would have loved as a child, ones that made you worry if the long dark shadow in the dark is a Jinn’s hand or if the girl you met at a party really is who she says she is. While the collection is no longer scary it is certainly entertaining and amusing and that alone is enough for me to read more Bond. The writing is clear and crisp, the language simple and easy and even though the target audience is children, he doesn’t patronise them in his writing. I enjoyed these stories, more for nostalgia’s sake than anything else but I certainly recommend them for the little person in your life.

In the middle of the night, I woke to a loud rattling sound. A rat, perhaps? But no. As soon as I opened the cupboard door, out popped the skull—landing near my feet and bouncing away right across the drawing room.

Ghosts and spirits, prets and jinns abound in this collection of stories. From the skull that refused to be given away to the spirits of long dead hill-station residents and from the mysterious man you meet on a dark road to the malevolent presence at the bottom of a pond—these are some of Ruskin Bond’s best stories about the supernatural. Dive under the covers, leave the lights on and lose yourself in these scary, funny and adventurous tales.

Available for purchase on Amazon India and Flipkart. 

I was sent a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed are my own. 


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