Through stories touching on adultery, madness, alcoholism and death, Kipling paints a deeply unsettling portrait of the inhabitants of colonial Simla. Of particular interest is the author's tone of mordant satire, coupled with his typically adept characterisation. 'In the Matter of a Private' shows Kipling depicting the mutiny of a British soldier who, driven crazy by monotony and alcohol, shoots and kills a fellow soldier. 'At the Pit's Mouth' describes an adulterous woman's affair, cut short when her lover and his mare unceremoniously fall off a cliff. In Under the Deodars this perennially popular author displays a dark commitment to realism and an unforgiving, almost brutal, portrayal of human nature.
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was born in India but came to England as a child. He is perhaps best remembered for his children's books Just So Stories and The Jungle Book, and for his novel Kim.