Although this collection of previously published stories was compiled for teenagers graduating to adult fiction, Skin and Other Stories will also seduce grown-ups with its nefariously nimble wit. Dahl, who wrote both short stories and children’s books (notably ”Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”), was a champion of ingenious pranks and revealing deceptions. In ”Lamb to the Slaughter” – famously adapted as an episode of ”Alfred Hitchcock Presents” in 1958 – a jilted wife kills her husband, then cooks and serves police the murder weapon, a frozen leg of lamb.
”The Champion of the World,” also filmed, follows two imaginative poachers who drug, steal, and hide pheasants in a baby carriage – until the the birds wake up, take flight, then alight near the thieves like a feathery indictment. ”Skin and Other Stories” is a posthumous treat from a devilishly funny author.