Any fan of Baudelaire, Huysmans, or decadent fiction in general needs to read this book. When published, 'Les Diaboliques' was considered so vile and disturbing that police actually seized it for offense to public morality. Even today, with it's obsessive excursions into crime, sexual devience, and it's dark, satanic undertones (Barbey was an eccentric catholic), it still retains a shocking, raw depravity. The 'devils' in the novel are all female ; useing their dominating, almost ravenous sexuality they manipulate and overpower men, even abuse them. They take life and love on their own terms, sometimes with savage, brutal violence. The dark under-world of eroticism and sex are explored and revealed in a slightly deranged light. Often times the stories seem to have some kind of mysterious, perverse moral, but it is so twisted the reader is never sure. In fact, even the character's motivations are never fully revealed ; their is horror, but not always directly, it pervades all around like some putrid, foul-smelling perfume. Terror is everywhere, hidden in the shadows of life. The narative itself adds to the overall creepy atmosphere, full of twists, detours, digressions. A classic of evil literature, this book demands to be ghoulishly savoured.