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Van Thal and Vampires

Archive for August, 2007

Herbert Van Thal – A Book Of Strange Stories

Posted by demonik on August 31, 2007

 Herbert Van Thal (ed.) – A Book Of Strange Stories (Pan, 1954)

Book Of Strange Stories

Dorothy L. Sayers – The Cyprian Cat
Dylan Thomas – A Visit to Grandma
Walter De la Mare – “What Dreams May Come”
Aldous Huxley – The Dwarf
Gerald Bullett – Dearth’s Farm
G. Fielden Hughes – The Ends of Justice
L. P. Hartley – The Island
Margery Sharp – The Second Step
Adrian Alington – Lady For Drowning
E. Nesbit – Man-size in Marble
Alan Wykes – Miss Sanders’ Story
Phyllis Bentley – Nemesis
W. Stanley Moss – The Zombie of Alto Parana

Fielden Hughes (with The Mistake), Alan Wykes (Nightmare) and L. P. Hartley (the brilliant doppelganger variation, W.S.) would all be re-united in the first Pan Horror book. The E. Nesbit story seems to have been included in every other ghost story collection published since the year it was written, Bullett’s equine horror Dearth’s Farm made the Fontana Horror books (and several others) and Peter Haining has described the W. Stanley Moss rarety as the most literary zombie storie ever written.

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Herbert Van Thal – Told In The Dark

Posted by demonik on August 31, 2007

Herbert Van Thal (ed) –  Told In The Dark (Pan, 1950).

Told In The Dark


Mrs. Molesworth – The Shadow In The Moonlight
Phyllis Bentley – Beckermonds
Elizabeth Braddon – The Mystery At Fernwood
E. F. Benson – The Thing In The Hall
Wilkie Collins – The Dead hand
Marjorie Bowen – The Prescription
Catherine Crowe – The Italian’s Story
Ann Bridge – The Accident
Charles Dickens – The Signal-man
Mrs. Riddell – Old Mrs. Jones
Sir Hugh Walpole – The Silver Mask

A very safe collection, this one, favouring the Victorian era with a couple of contemporary authors thrown in. What you get is a strong selection, high on atmosphere, low on gore, but nothing you’ll not have come across before (especially if you collect Hugh Lamb or Richard Dalby). Commendably, there is a definite slant toward including work by female authors, and it seems as though Herbert was making a conscious attempt to prove that ghost stories at their best are works of “serious” literature – whatever that is.

More on Vault Of Evil’s Told In The Dark thread

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John Burke – New Tales Of Unease

Posted by demonik on August 31, 2007

John Burke (ed.) – New Tales Of Unease (Pan, 1976)

Cover photography: Chris Yates

These tales are not about ghosts: not really, not ghosts pure and simple. They are not crime stories, or gruesome stories: well …. not All of them. They tell of ordinary people in an everyday world, people you may know, people you may recognize.

So what is there to be uneasy about?

Rosemary Timperley – Double Wedding
Miles Tripp – Commuter
George Mackay Brown – Two Horses, Rose And Terror
Barry Sutton – Jane Howard, Where Are You Now?
Elizabeth Walter – The Hollies And The Ivy
Stephen Meadows – It Had Happened Before
Charles Eric Maine – Joe Three Eyes
Jay Gilbert – Out Of Reason
Philip Evans – Tale-Telling
Peter Collins – Absence Without Leave
R. M. Stephenson – Janet
Michael Cornish – Mr. Gupta’s Marionettes
R. Andrew Hall – Autumn’s Dream
Keith Turner – Little Jimmy
Brian Morse – About Ghosts
John Burke – And Cannot Come Again

Third and final book in the series.

Elizabeth Walter – The Hollies And The Ivy: Gus and Judith Pentecost move into The Hollies, previously owned by old Mrs. Dyer whose husband vanished, presumed murdered by wife although no body was ever recovered. From the first, Gus fights a losing battle versus the unruly ivy which clings to the walls and taps on the windows at night. Come Christmas, and they’re entombed by the fist-thick roots. Another cracker for the Vegetation! thread.

Miles Tripp – Commuter: For forty years, Sidney Hinds reflects, he’s commuted to his dull job analysing unemployment figures before returning home to his joyless marriage. But today the station is deserted, the train doesn’t arrive, and so he has no option but to return home and be nagged by Mabel for getting “under her feet” …. just as he has every day for years since he took an axe to her. Today, in a rare moment of clarity, Sidney realises he’s no reason to stay at the gloomy bungalow any longer, so he has a last hack at the corpse, packs some provisions and sets up camp in the waiting room of the obsolete station. When two youths break in, he defends his property entirely oblivious to the express train belting along the rails …

Stephen Meadows – It Had Happened Before: Short-short. Another bitter marriage with every day, every excuse for a conversation a repetition of one that has gone before. Husband takes out the iron and creeps up on wife as she’s watching TV.

Philip Evans – Tale-Telling: Contract killer in the confessional box. The previous night he committed his first murder for non-financial gain, shooting a beautiful woman he’d just picked up and made love to, Rosa Selvaggio, and he can’t explain why. He’s even more at a loss as to why she merely laughed as bullet after bullet sank into her without having any effect whatsoever. She appears behind her killer in the box, as does the Priest. He’s mighty odd, too.

More on Vault of Evil NewTales Of Unease thread

Thanks to Jerrylad of Vault Of Evil for kindly providing me with a copy of this book!

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John Burke – More Tales of Unease

Posted by demonik on August 31, 2007

John Burke – More Tales of Unease (Pan 1969)

John Burke - More Tales Of Unease

Andrea Newman – She’ll be Company for You
Herbert Harris – The Escort
Virginia Ironside – The Young Squire
Miles Tripp – Snow
John Christopher – A Cry of Children
Arnost Lustig – The Beginning and the End
Jeffry Scott – He Said I Could
John Brummer – Speech is Silver
Stewart Farrar – The Girl in Question
Christine Hickman – So Dark the Rose
Alexander Walton – Clegson’s Folly
Elizabeth Lemarchand – Time to be Going
Penelope Wallace – Tell David…
Alex Hamilton – The Flies on the Wall
Victor Lucas – Here Comes a Candle
R. Andrew Hall – Split Image
E. C. Tubb – Little Girl Lost
Michael Cornish – They’ll Have to Go
Alan C. Jenkins – The Blind Man
Stephen Meadows – Frances
Arthur Sellings – Jukebox
John Burke – Be our Guest

Thanks to blackmonk of Vault for providing the coverscan and details of this one.

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