Gruesome Cargoes

Horror fiction 1925-1937: ‘Not At Nights’ & ‘Creeps’

Archive for August, 2007

Still Not At Night : Arrow edition

Posted by demonik on August 20, 2007

Christine Campbell Thomson (ed) – Still Not At Night (Arrow, 1962)

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Joseph O. Kesselring – King Cobra
Joseph McCord – The Girdle
Flavia Richardson (Christine Campbell Thomson) – Behind the Blinds
Michael Gwynn – The Death Plant
Greye La Spina – The Tortoiseshell Cat
J. Dyott Mathews – The Tapping
Oscar Cook – Si Urag Of The Tail
August Derleth – The Metronome
H. Thomson – Offspring Of hell
Elizabeth Sheldon – The Ghost That Never Died
Henry S. Whitehead – The Passing Of A God
Jessie D. Kerruish – The Wonderful Tune
Geoffrey Vace (Hugh B. Cave?) – Four Doomed Men

More Not At Night was reprinted as Never At Night (Arrow, 1971) and Still Not At Night was reissued as Only By Daylight (Arrow, 1972).

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More Not At Night: Arrow edition

Posted by demonik on August 20, 2007

Christine Campbell Thomson (ed.) – More Not At Night (Arrow, 1961, 1963)

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Harold Ward – The Closed Door
Mortimer Levitan – The Third Thumbprint
Romeo Poole – The Death Crescents Of Koti
Will Smith & R. J. Robbins – Swamp Horror
Oscar Cook – Golden Lilies
Jessie D. Kerruish – The Seven Locked Room
Loretta G. Burroughs – Creeping Fingers
Flavia Richardson – Out Of The Earth
B. W. Sliney – The Man Who Was Saved
Hester Holland – Dorner Cordainthus
Robert E. Howard – Rogues In The House
David H. Keller – The Thing In The Cellar
Oswell Blakeston – The Crack
Archie Binns – The Last Trip

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Quick Links

Posted by demonik on August 15, 2007

Jessica Amanda Salmonson has a page on the Creeps series (including the non-anthology titles) at Violet Books. Jessica also provides this link to the late rbadac’s essay, The Best of the Creeps Series.

Tartarus have the contents and several cover scans of Creeps and Not At Night originals.

Robert Weinberg has cover scans of the Not At Night‘s and various other mouthwatering goodies in the unmissable Rare Books section of his site.

Rog Pile has taken a look at the Not At Night‘s on his Haunted Dolls House blog. Meanwhile, Franklin Marsh, has dramatised Meshes Of Doom from Birkin’s Horrors on the Vault Of Evil forum.

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The Not At Nights: About

Posted by demonik on August 15, 2007

Originally intended as a one off collection, the series was such a success that Christine Campbell Thomson wound up editing eleven volumes and an omnibus between 1925 and 1937. In all, there were 170 stories and, according to noted fantasy bibliographer Mike Ashley, exactly 100 of these came from the legendary American pulp Weird Tales.

The books in the series were all published by Selwyn & Blount.

Not At Night (October, 1925)
More Not At Night (Sept. 1926)
You’ll Need A Night Light (Sept. 1927)
Gruesome Cargoes (July, 1928)
By Daylight Only (Oct. 1929)
Switch On The Light (April, 1931)
At Dead Of Night (Nov, 1931)
Grim Death (Aug, 1932)
Keep On The Light (July, 1933)
Terror By Night (Aug., 1934)
Nightmare By Daylight (April, 1936)
Not At Night Omnibus (April 1937)

Arrow books published three paperback compilations from the series from 1960-62 as:

Not At Night (1960)
More Not At Night (1961)
Still Not At Night (1962)

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Not At Night: Tales That Freeze The Blood

Posted by demonik on August 15, 2007

Christine Campbell Thomson (ed.) – Not At Night: Tales That Freeze The Blood (Arrow 1960, 1962)

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These stories are as creepy as anything that came from the pen of Bram Stoker or Edgar Allan Poe. Vampires, screams in the night, blood on the stairs, head-shrinkers, Chinese tortures, amputations, stakes – they are all here!Mary Elizabeth Counselman – The Accursed Isle
Victor Roman – Four Wooden Stakes
Galen C. Colin – Teeth
R. Anthony – The Witch-Baiter
Flavia Richardson – Pussy
Zelia Brown Reed – The Curse Of Yig
Guy Preston – The Way He Died
H. Warner Munn – The Chain
Bassett Morgan – Island Of Doom
Oscar Cook – When Glister Walked
Arthur Woodward – Lord Of The Talking Heads
Hester Holland – The Scream
Romeo Poole – A Hand From The Deep
Edmond Hamilton – Pigmy Island



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Not at Night Omnibus

Posted by demonik on August 15, 2007

There’s more, far more to the series than this greatest hits selection, but it’s as good a place to start as any. Readers of the early “Pan Horror” books will be familiar with a goodly few of these.

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Many thanks to Robert Weinberg for kindly granting me permission to use his cover scans.

Zealia B. Bishop – The Curse of Yig
W. J. Stamper – Lips of the Dead
Jessie D. Kerruish – The Wonderful Tune
Michael Gwynn – The Death Plant
R. Anthony – The Witch-Baiter
Hester Holland – The Library
Guy Preston – The Inn
A. W. Kapfer – The Phantom Drug
H. P. Lovecraft – Pickman’s Model
Oscar Cook – His Beautiful Hands
Edmond Hamilton – Pigmy Island
Flavia Richardson (Christine Campbell Thomson) – Behind the Yellow Door
Oswell Blakeston – The Crack
J. Joseph Renaud – Suzanne
Mary E. Counselman – The Accursed Isle
Warden Ledge – The Legion of Evil
Seabury Quinn – The House of Horror
Guy Preston – The Way He Died
Hazel Heald – The Horror in the Museum
George Fielding Eliot – The Copper Bowl
Hugh B. Cave – The Watcher in the Green Room
G. Frederick Montefiore – Black Curtains
L. A. Lewis – The Author’s Tale
H. Warner Munn – The Chain
Oscar Cook – Piecemeal
Hester Holland – The Scream
Will Smith & R. J. Robbins – Swamp Horror
Jessie D. Kerruish – The Seven Locked Room
Henry S. Whitehead – The Chadbourne Episode
David H. Keller – The Thing in the Cellar
Flavia Richardson – The Black Hare
Anthony Vercoe – Flies
August Derleth – The Tenant
Gordon Chesson – Little Red Shoes
Harold Ward – The Closed Door

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The cover artwork: “Eliza Pyke”

Posted by demonik on August 15, 2007

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For years it’s bugged me that I don’t know who to credit for the striking artwork which adorns these incredible books. Of course, the identity of one of the artists was sitting right there under my nose the whole time.

“The jacket for this first volume (and for many of the later ones), was designed by that clever advertising-agent, Betty Prentis, who was then working as a freelance artist under her trade name of Eliza Pyke. It was “Eliza”, with her sense of dramatic colour, who contributed not a little towards a “brighter bookstalls” movement!”

– Christine Campbell Thomson, introduction to the Not At Night Omnibus (Feb. 1936).

A quick Google reveals no details whatsoever about either Betty or her alter-ego, but at least we now have a name to work with.

My guess is that she was definitely responsible for the covers of #1 through to #5, probably contributed those of #6 – #8, possibly designed #9 but not #10 and #11!

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The Creeps Omnibus

Posted by demonik on August 15, 2007

“The Creeps Omnibus”, ed. Charles Lloyd, (Phillip Allan,1935), collected together the entire contents of the first three books in the series, “Creeps”, “Shudders” and “Shivers”.

CREEPS ed. Charles Lloyd, (Phillip Allan,1932)

Tod Robbins – Silent, White, & Beautiful
H. R. Wakefield – The Red Lodge
Elliott O’Donnell – The Ghost Table
Tod Robbins – Spurs
H. R. Wakefield – “He Cometh And He Passeth By”
Philip Murray – The Charnel House
Elliott O’Donnell – A Wager And A Ghost
Charles Lloyd – The Last Night
Tod Robbins – Cockrow Inn

SHUDDERS ed. Charles Lloyd, (Phillip Allan,1932)

H. R. Wakefield – Or Persons Unknown
Tod Robbins – Toys
Elliott O’Donnell – Accusing Shadows
H. R. Wakefield – Professor Pownall’s Oversight
Charles Lloyd – The Harlem Horror
Philip Murray – The Trunk
H. R. Wakefield – The Third Coach
Philip Murray – The Crimson Blind
Elliott O’Donnell – The Haunted Spinney
Philip Murray – The Patch
H. R. Wakefield – That Dieth Not

SHIVERS ed. Charles Lloyd, (Phillip Allan,1933)

H. R. Wakefield – The 17th Hole at Duncaster
Charles Lloyd – An Eye for an Eye
Tod Robbins – Wild Wullie the Waster
Mrs. Everett – The Death Mask
Elliott O’Donnell – The Ghost in the Ring
Philip Murray – The Poplar Tree
H. R. Wakefield – “And He Shall Sing…”
Tod Robbins – Who Wants a Green Bottle?
Elliott O’Donnell – The Tank of Death

As is obvious from the above, Charles Birkin/ ‘Charles Lloyd’ was working with a very small stable of authors to begin with, but he certainly succeeded in getting the best from them. Robbins “Spurs” is the short story which spawned Tod Browning’s classic horror movie, “Freaks”. Wakefield’s Satanist in “He Commeth … ” is loosely based on the then very newsworthy Aleister Crowley, while the same writers “The Red Lodge” is among the very best haunted house stories ever written IMHO. Birkin doesn’t disgrace himself amongst such company, although why Van Thal didn’t resurrect “The Harlem Horror” – a truly sadistic tale of child abduction that gets uglier with every paragraph – along with the others for his Pan horror series is a mystery. Phillip Murray (possibly even publisher Allan under a pseudonym), perfected the short-short horror story form, rarely exceeding four pages, yet never needing to. Hugh Lamb used “The Charnel House” for one of his own excellent anthologies, as it’s one of the very grimmest pieces in here.

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Charles Birkin and the “Creeps”

Posted by demonik on August 15, 2007



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Charles Birkin (1907-1986) and the “CREEPS” seriesThe “Creeps”, like the “Not At Night” series, were the ‘Pan Horror Stories’ of their day, and Herbert Van Thal wisely raided both for early issues of his popular paperbacks.
Edited by the 5th Baronet Birkin under the pseudonym Charles Lloyd, they ended abruptly in 1936 when Birkin had a collection of his own horror stories published, “Devil Spawn”, after which other commitments forced him to retire from the field until 1964 when “The Kiss Of Death” signalled a winning return to activity. The series, published by Phillip Allan, ran as follows.
Creeps (1932)
Shudders (1932)
Shivers (1933)
Horrors(1933)
Terrors (1933)
Quakes (1933)
Nightmares (1933)
Monsters (1934)
Panics (1934)
Powers Of Darkness (1934)
The Creeps Omnibus (1935)
Thrills (1935)
Tales Of Fear (1935)
Tales Of Death (1936)
Tales Of Dread (1936)

The Creeps Omnibus handily (if lazily) reproduced the entire contents of the first three volumes, and is as good an introduction to the series as any, although not exactly representative and by no means the “Greatest Hits” collection these books are still crying out for

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Tales Of Dread

Posted by demonik on August 15, 2007

Charles Birkin (ed.) – Tales Of Dread (Philip Allan, 1936)

Francis H. Sibson – Bathysphere Number 7
Charles Lloyd – Angela
Anne Edgar – The Green Taxi
Oswell Blakeston – The Secret Of The Graves
Sidney Denham -The Silver Lady
David Lord – The Dead Watch
Harold Markham – Dispossessed
Francis Bruguiere – The Tiger
Kenneth Ingram – The False Trail

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