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Van Thal and Vampires

Archive for September 2nd, 2007

Herbert Van Thal – Pan Horror 12

Posted by demonik on September 2, 2007

Herbert Van Thal (ed.) – 12th Pan Book Of Horror Stories (1971)




David Case -The Hunter
David Learmont Aitken – The Instant Divorce
Barry Martin – In Mother’s Loving Memory
Alan Hillery – Ashes To Ashes
Patricia Highsmith – The Terrapin
Norman Kaufman – Sergeant Lacey Demonstrates
James Jauncey – Borderline
Robert Ashley – Pieces Of Mary
Frank Neate – Miss Fletcher’s Plum Tree
Martin Ricketts – The Nursery Club
Barry Martin – Laura
Rachel Kemper – The Dancing Shoes
Rosemary Timperley – The Peg-Doll
T. H. McCormick – Man With A Knife

David Case – The Hunter: Detective Inspector Justin Bell persuades retired big game hunter John Wetherby to help him investigate a brutal murder on Dartmoor. The victim’s body has been torn and his head removed “as clean as a knife or guillotine.” Wetherby’s former colleague Byron – who lives near to the scene of the crime – is likewise approached but finds it all too trivial and amusing to waste time on. Byron is an adrenalin junkie who is only content when gambling with his life. As more brutal slayings occur, the scandal sheets scream of werewolf slayings and Wetherby comes to doubt his ability to track the beast. Could sensationalist journalist Aaron Ross have stumbled upon the truth after all?

I must admit, it doesn’t sound like much from that dreadful synopsis, but it’s a classic and at just over 90 pages it reads like an incredibly fast paced novel. The characters are well drawn (Byron is especially memorable) , there’s a pub called The King’s Torso and Case even finds room for some pitch black humour.

Norman Kaufman – Sergeant Lacey Demonstrates: The bullying Lacey receives his comeuppance on a training exercise with the minimum of fuss and – surprisingly for Kaufman – absence of gore.

Rachel Kemper – The Dancing Shoes: All her life she’d wanted to be a Ballerina. Then she meets the man with the purple eyes. He’d had many a Billy Elliot fantasy himself … until he topped himself.

James Jauncey – Borderline: Sewage worker Harry gets his hand trapped in a metal grid and the sluice gates are due to open. Lucky for him there are plenty of hungry rats around down there …

Rosemary Timperley – The Peg-Doll: Alan finds it on site when the old orphanage is being demolished. He takes it home for his seven year old daughter, Alma, and the peg-doll becomes her constant companion. It is a receptacle for all the misery suffered by the kids when widow Grace Webb was in charge and several of their number starved to death.

Alan Hillary – Ashes To Ashes: Dr. Morrow suspects his young wife Melanie of being unfaithful. He decides to have her cremated – alive. Then he learns that his fears were groundless and it’s all been a silly mistake.

Robert Ashley – Pieces Of Mary: Little Mary’s mother won’t let her knock around with girls of her own age, fearing them to be a bad influence, but she is allowed to play with the quiet boys next door, John and David, who have a morbid interest in dissection.

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Herbert Van Thal – Pan Horror 17

Posted by demonik on September 2, 2007

Herbert Van Thal (ed.) – The 17th Pan Book Of Horror Stories (1976)

Pan Horror 17


Monica Lee – The Remains of Reindeer
Harry Turner – The Hypnotist
Elleston Trevor – They’re Making a Mistake
Barbara J. Eyre – Poor Rosie
Alex White – To Fatima
Jack Shackleford – Thy Intention Turn …
Maureen O’Hara – Nobody’s Child
Myc Harrison – Needle and Thread
Dawn Muscillo – Sister Coxall’s Revenge
Jonathan Cruise – The Claygo Worm
Myc Harrison – The Abscess
Norman P. Kaufman – An Opportunity in Local Government
Roger F Dunkley – The Man Called James

Alex White – To Fatima: Charts the progress of James from acts of sadism versus pets in childhood, through opportunist murder and a lengthy stint as a corpse-raping strangler in maturity to his downfall when he meets Fatima, the beautiful sister of a wealthy Arab and the only woman he ever loved. When Fatima insists on going through with her arranged marriage to Feisal, James falls back into his old ways. But Fatima’s brother and Feisal are more than his match in dishing out suffering and his protracted torture at their hands, boots, whips and irons is hideous.

Alex White is something of a Vault favourite and this is typically nasty if not in quite the same league as Never Talk To Strangers or her masterpiece The Clinic.

Barbara Jane Eyre – Poor Rosie: Mentally unbalanced serial killers do not make the best mothers. Dead baby fun.

Roger F. Dunkley – The Man Called James: A police helicopter hovers overhead and wheelchair-bound Maud finds a young man in her garden. A very personable fellow but he just can’t endure suffering in his fellow creatures. When her cat lashes out at a dove he destroys the bird with his bare hands and tosses it away. Then he notices Maud’s tablets …

Harry E. Turner – The Hypnotist: The under-rated Turner continues his tradition of reworking unpretentious twenties and thirties horror plots as ace reporter Stew McAlpine travels to Montreaux to interview master mesmerist Count Vladimir Von Beck. “All poppycock” reckons McAlpine until he meets with the happy clappy zombies on whom the Count conducts his experiments and, finally, experiences the man’s uncanny abilities for himself. Plenty of gory surgical moments and much nastiness down in the cellar.

Jack D. Shackleford – Thy Intention Turn ….: Jermyn Street. 24 year old Alexandra German has taken the job of secretary to Damon Selby, an authority on all things folklore, occult and witchy. Selby has incurred the wrath of a Black Magician he inadvisedly dismissed in print as a charlatan and this man has vowed to destroy him. Alexandra volunteers to assist Selby in raising a demon to reverse the spell but … it doesn’t go too well.

Thanks to Rog at Vault Of Evil for providing me with a copy of this.

See also Vault Of Evil’s Pan Horror 17 thread.

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Herbert Van Thal – Pan Horror 19

Posted by demonik on September 2, 2007

Herbert Van Thal (ed.) – The 19th Pan Book Of Horror Stories (Pan, 1978)

Pan Horror 19

 Dulcie Gray – The Spectre
Chris Morgan – Eric And I
David Case – Neighbours
James Hallums – A Trip Off The Map
Norman Kaufman – Lady On Display
Guy Delaway – Wild Bees, Golden Honey
Edwin Brown – The Brother
Dorothy K. Haynes – Zelma, My Sister-In-Law
Rosemary Timperley – The Power Cut
Diana Forster – Give A Dog A Bone
Philip Dell Creed – The Sinister Nursemaid
Guy Delaway – The Boy Who Was Afraid To die
Simon Walsh – The Inquisitor
Robert Holdstock – The Quiet Girl

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Herbert Van Thal – Pan Horror 18

Posted by demonik on September 2, 2007

Herbert Van Thal (ed.) – The 18th Pan Book Of Horror Stories (1977)

Carolyne L. Bird – Meat
Patricia Highsmith – The Bravest Rat in Venice
Judith Eleanor Green – Quod erat Demonstrandum
Jane Gregory – Belvedere’s Bride
Myc Harrison – The Coffin Flies
Norman P. Kaufman – Rest in Peace
Monica Lee – Stevie
Samantha Lee – The Island of the Seals
Maureen O’Hara – The Atheist
Alan Temperley – The Boy With Golden Eyes
Charles Thornton – Double Puppet
Rosemary Timperley – The Unknown Caller
Barry Tonkin – The Fly-eater
Harry E Turner – It’s Hungry

Carolyn L. Bird – Meat: Old Petrovsky has a variety of stories as to how he lost his arm. The version he tells a young Scottish lad concerns an encounter with a wolf-pack as he fled from the church he’d just looted. Well written, just not particularly scary.

Charles Thornton – Double Puppet: The tragic demise of veteran Music Hall ventriloquist Arthur Day and his doll, Boris. At least they go out on a career high.

Norman P. Kaufman – Rest in Peace: You’ve finally retired from your soul destroying job. You’re luxuriating in the sun when some selfish young woman has to spoil it all by getting herself mangled in a sports car. You’re the only one who can save her. Or you could just say “sod it.”

Barry Tonkin – The Fly-eater: Writer of occult literature meets librarian who eats flies. That’s it.

Judith Eleanor Green – Quod erat Demonstrandum: An aspiring author encounters another unhelpful librarian. He’s after a book that details the effect of a missile on the human cranium.

Jane Gregory – Belvedere’s Bride: Cornwall. Clare, blind from birth, retains her sight shortly after her 18th birthday. The reclusive marine biologist Belvedere, who has sheltered her from the outside world for all these years, explains to her that she is “different” from everybody else and shows her a mirror to prove it. She is only too glad of his marriage proposal, very charitable in the circumstances.

Harry E. Turner – It’s Hungry: Ever since he returned from Borneo, Salaman has eaten compulsively – but he never puts on any weight. Between them, Doctors Turner and Fabrizzi solve the riddle of his condition. Can they save him?
The best so far and some neat swipes at Harold Robbins paperbacks, but …

You’ve doubtless realised that, like #16, this one is dominated by the London Management crew. I think it’s fair to say that it is not the high watermark of the series.

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