Undoubtedly, this is the most hilarious collection of short stories I've ever read. Except for one ("The Romance of a Bulb-Squeezer") which I found only so-so, all the others had me in stitches. I have returned to this collection again and again, whenever I was feeling down in the dumps, and left with an uplifted heart.
Mr. Mulliner is a regular at "Angler's Rest" (a country pub), a "man who has never told a lie in his life", according to his own confession. And the narrator tells us that it is very easy to believe it:
"He was a short, stout, comfortable man of middle age, and the thing that struck me first about him was the extraordinarily childlike candour of his eyes. They were large and round and honest. I would have bought oil stock from him without a tremor."
Mulliner does not tell lies, what he tells are stories about his numerous nephews (in which aspect he has been "singularly blessed"), brothers, cousins and uncles. And if these stories stretch our credibility sometimes, we have to murmur the adage "truth is stranger than fiction" and go ahead.
There is George, the stammerer, whose affliction is cured in a most extraordinary way in a single afternoon; Wilfred, with his marvellous chemical concoctions for all ills; Mulliner's Buck-u-Uppo, which can induce such high spirits that men of the cloth turn into mischievous schoolboys; and the malignant spirit of a pulp novelist haunting a country cottage. As Mulliner narrates the stories in an even voice to his spellbound listeners in Angler's Rest, we too forget the thin dividing line between truth and fiction: after all, does truth matter in front of a good story? And what are stories (from the old myths and legends up to the latest fiction lining the bestseller shelves), other than colourful lies we willingly hear?
Come, suspend your disbelief and get lost in the magic world of Mr. Muliner...