The Shadow Over Innsmouth is one of my favorite Lovecraft stories. It focuses on a young man who travels to a run-down Massachusetts port town called Innsmouth for its reputation of picturesque architecture. He begins to realize, however, that there is a reason that people stay away from Innsmouth.
Robert Olmstead, on a mission to discover the identity of his distant ancestors, finds himself in rural Massachusetts. On the tips of some of the people he meets, he decides to take a bus into Innsmouth. The people he meets on the bus, and later in town, seem to look a little strange. They have sloping foreheads, big lips, and bulging fishy eyes. Once in town, he asks around and eventually hears rumors about the interbreeding of the citizens of Innsmouth with fish-like creatures that came from the sea. This story shakes Olmstead's nerves, but he eventually chalks it up to unfounded rumors and speculation.
That is, until, the bus he hoped to take out of town before night fall breaks down, leaving his stranded in Innsmouth. Olmstead is forced to sleep overnight in a run down hotel when the natives suddenly become hostile. Olmstead must choose to either flee or run for his life but one this is sure - what he discovers off the shores of this little Massachusetts town will alter his life forever.
The Shadow Over Innsmouth is unique from Lovecraft's other works in that it partially abandons the theme of plausible deniability. By the end of the story, a police investigation begins regarding the people of Innsmouth. However, we don't know the result of the investigation...
I loved Innsmouth for two reasons. One is the great "chase-scene" that ensues, in which Olmstead is certain that he will be killed if he is found. The other is the ending, which I will let you read on your own - it's a doozie!
To read the whole story, click here.