Gruesome Cargoes

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

Archive for the ‘Charles Birkin’ Category

Charles Lloyd (ed.) – Terrors

Posted by demonik on October 9, 2012

Charles Lloyd (ed) – Terrors  (Phillip Allan, 1933)

dust jacket from Facsimile Dust Jackets

Charles Lloyd – The Terror On Tobit
Guy Preston – Thirty
Francis Sibson – The “Westerdale’s” Tow
Andre de Lorde – Waxworks
Phyllis Stone – The Man With The Flayed Face
Ursula Gwynne – The Muffler
Marjory Lawrence – The Terror Of Stranger Island
Pamela James – Blue-Black Hair
John Ratho – Arabella Goes North
Phyllis Stone – Spider’s Web
Elliott O’Donnell – The Mystery Of Beechcroft Farm

The man with the flayed face, how the passengers of the Westerdale died, the Fear on the lonely island, and the artist who was caught in the spider’s web, make their first appearance – with other grisly tales – in this volume.

Review by James Doig

Charles Lloyd, The Terror on Tobit
Daphne and Anne are holidaying in the Scilly Islands and decide to spend a night on deserted Tobit island, much to the shock and horror of the locals, there being numerous cases of sightseers disappearing without trace. Naturally, the girls won’t be swayed. Jean, one of the local boys, has taken a fancy to one of the sweet young things and tags along with them, parking himself a discrete distance away. During the night Daphne, frightened by a strange whistling noise, goes in search of him and finds a pool of slime next to his camp fire. Hearing Anne scream, she rushes back only to find another pool of slime where Anne had been sleeping. Off to the asylum with Daphne. Seems to be some species of giant flesh-eating sea slug.

Guy Preston, Thirty
Not a bad ghost story in which an antiques dealer is haunted by a certain person counting out his thirty pieces of silver.

Francis H. Sibson, The Westerdale’s Tow
Nautical horror where a greedy captain tows a derelict ship back to shore for the scrap metal. Unfortunately for him, the derelict is home to an awful species of flesh eating insect from New Guinea.

Andre de Lorde, Waxworks
Young Parisian takes a wager that he can’t spend the night of a nasty storm in a waxworks. He just about makes it.

Phyllis Stone, The Man With the Flayed Face
Young woman’s car breaks down during a storm and she seeks shelter at the home of a man whose head is swathed in bandages. He’s a nice chap who suffered horrific injuries during the war. By good fortune the woman’s brother is an expert plastic surgeon. As there is no photograph of the afflicted man, a photograph of his dead twin brother is used as a model. All goes well, except that the man’s dead brother happened to be a student of the occult…

Ursula Gwynne, The Muffler
Sad and pointless story about a man on death row who has strangled his crippled son.

Margery Lawrence, The Terror on Stranger Island
Adventurers investigate Stranger Island, where numerous people have disappeared without trace. They find that the culprit is a monster-sized cross between a scorpion, crab and spider.

Pamela James, Blue-Black Hair
Beautiful young woman tries to prove an ancient family curse has no basis in fact. Silly girl…

John Ratho, Arabella Goes North
Nice conte cruel that someone should resurrect – eccentric, aristocratic Arabella finds herself on a train to Edinburgh without Sister to help her. The other passengers are mean to her, including the young girl she shares a carriage with. Unfortunately for the girl, Arabella is as stark raving mad as you can get.

Phyllis Stone, Spider’s Web
Bizarre story about a mother and daughter trying to con a rich artist out of his money. Mother is 47 and daughter is a 27 year old dwarf, but somehow they are able to pass themselves off as 20 years’ younger. Dwarf falls in love with artist and kills herself, mother goes mad.

Elliott O’Donnell, The Mystery of Beechcroft Farm
Woman’s aunt goes missing on her way home from London. Conventional ghost story – replete with headless ghost – made interesting because the murderer, an attractive woman who owns a nearby farm, gets away with it.

See also the Terrors thread on Vault of Evil forum


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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

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)
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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Tales Of Death

Posted by demonik on August 15, 2007

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

Clifford Knight – Kismet
H. Boswell Lancaster – Down-Draught To Hell
Oswell Blakeston – The Hut
Hope Wilson – Lion Of Bengal
Malcolm Ellison – The Devil-Plant
Sydney Darcy – Swift Death
W.J. Pollock – The Cottage
R. P. Morrison – Lost With All Hands
Malcolm Critchley – The Return
Esme H. Bidlake – An Appointment With Death
S.G. MacDonnell – The Graverhouse Affair

Malcolm Ellison – The Devil-Plant: Clare, Suffolk, May 1933. Whatever killed the rats sucked out every morsel of meat from their bodies, leaving two flattened pelts on the greenhouse floor. Eric Brent won’t be convinced that his beloved South African ‘everlasting orchid’ is to blame, which is bad news for his domestic pets. And his wife Elsie’s arm …

Hope Wilson – Lion Of Bengal: Indian jungle. Cyril Frobisher is among a party of railway engineers commissioned to build a line through Willawance territory. The witch-doctor doesn’t take kindly to the idea.
Death by witchcraft, poison dart, malaria and an attack by Mango trees!

Oswell Blakeston – The Hut: “The first lad who slept there hacked off his hand with a penknife. He confessed, afterwards, that he had stolen with that hand … The last …er … victim, was a tramp who had stolen a bag of gardening tools from the village … he blinded himself on a rake …”

It served as home to a religious fanatic, a fervent believer in “if thy right hand causes thee to sin ..” self-mutilation for even the slightest transgressions. Peter and Daisy, lost in the countryside, hole up there for the night but she is unable to sleep and, fatally, says as much to the sinister stranger who greets them in the morning. The hut is on his land and, back at his farmhouse, he relates to them the macabre history of the hut with obscene relish …

Blakeston was revising this for inclusion in a Hugh Lamb anthology when he died and it’s certainly worthy of revival. Head and shoulders above anything else in the disappointingly weak Tales Of Death.

Sydney Darcy – Swift Death : Cornwall. Gretchen, unhappily married to Julian, can’t find it in her to leave him as she knows it will break his heart. So she pushes him off a cliff instead. Or was it all a dream?

H. Boswell Lancaster – Down-Draught To Hell: Ernest Rackman and wife Margaret take up residence in a village on the outskirts of Liverpool. Margaret hates it from the first and even the skeptical Ernest comes to admit it’s haunted. It was built from the materials of a demolished prison where men were crammed into an underground cell and left to rot. They want company.

Clifford Knight – Kismet: Uncle George has acted as young Arthur’s benefactor ever since his father’s suicide but, despairing of the young man’s profligate ways, leaves him just a year’s allowance and a statue of Osiris in his will. When Arthur smashes the statue, he finds inside a papyrus which, Mr. Wellbye of the British Museum excitedly informs him, contains details of a previously undiscovered Egyptian tomb. The pair set off to excavate a site near the Giza pyramid. Inevitably, Arthur’s greed gets the better of him and he’s crushed to death while merrily looting a booby-trapped burial chamber.

Esme H. Bidlake – An Appointment With Death: Little Tony has been knocked down by a roadhog and hovers on the brink of death. The Doctor gravely warns that if he doesn’t recover by 11 o’clock he’s a goner. Come the fatal hour and the boy’s eyes flicker open just as there’s an almighty crash in the street outside. Tony has been delivered but his father’s been mangled in a car accident.

Malcolm Critchley – The Return: “Gruesome Discovery At Brighton”. Ralph Hamlyn learns of his wife Edith’s affair with Robert Hardinge and avenges himself by lacing their drinks with poison, sacking them up and dumping their mutilated bodies in the sea at Black Rock. Their ghosts haunt him until he does the decent thing and blows his brains out.
Hamlyn confesses all via an aspiring author whom he temporarily possesses to jot down his confession.

R. P. Morrison – Lost With All Hands: Such was the fate of the Kamptee which went down off the coast of Gibraltar on 4th October 1924. Exactly a year later, John March, whose twin brother was a casualty of the disaster, is transported back through time and aboard the Kamptee from its sister ship, Satara. During his absence he is presumed dead and trussed in a sack for burial at sea until one of the crew spots him struggling. He tells the Doctor of his experience aboard the doomed vessel and tries to convince him that it portends evil for Satara.

W. J. Pollock – The Cottage: ” …. as fast as thought itself, my head and shoulders were enclosed in a slimy, quivering mass, that seemed to be possessed of a hundred pairs of arms.”

Loughton Hollow. The two previous occupants of the cottage have been killed in mysterious circumstances, the most recent casualty having half his face eaten away in the process. Narrator John still believes there must be “some quite ordinary explanation” for the murders and the fact that scores of duck bills float atop the filthy pond in the garden. He’s right of course. That night as he and friend Dick Chalmers keep vigil in the haunted room, they are attacked … by an octopus. John is half-throttled as we wrestles the beast until Dick finds an axe and sets about hacking it to pieces.

“How [it] managed to live in our climate and under such unusual circumstances must always remain a mystery.”

S . G. MacDonell – The Graverhouse Affair: “Dressed in some indescribable garb, its face a horrible whitish hue, shiny and putrid in effect … the hair, bleached and tangled, matted over parts of the skull and face, the dead eyes gazing our way … then the awful figure stopped and gave a senile cackle as it waved its stump at us …”
Graverhouse Grange plays host to a terrible secret, known to the Lady of the house and her pretty daughter Miriam but kept from the headstrong son, Clive. All he knows about his father is that he died in mysterious circumstances when he was a child and the tragedy affected his mother’s mind to the point where she is ever watchful and prone to wild mood swings. One stormy night, a dreadful figure approaches them at table and the awful truth is revealed.

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Tales Of Fear

Posted by demonik on August 15, 2007

Charles Birkin (ed.) – Tales Of Fear (Philip Allan, 1935)

Vera A. Gadd – The Road
Patrick Clark – Bitten By A Spider
Geoffrey Wyndham – Lewis – The Silent Inn
W.A.C. Chadwick – Many Cats And One Tale
A.D. Avison – The Horror In The Pond
Oswell Blakeston – Adventure Without Asking
Arthur Stafford Aylmer – The Thing From The Pit
Tilly Scard – Lone Cottage
Ada Helen – The Figure At The Window
Henry L. Lawrence – A Journey By Train
Vera A. Gadd – Hillmount
Chrystabel Earle – The Snake

Vera A. Gadd – The Road: Hazel Peters moves into Farne House and is at once upsetting her staid, gloomy neighbours with her loud parties, so much so that Martha Yabsley, a severe, unpleasant looking spinster, asks her to move out. She explains that all the women in the road have led miserable lives and are jealous of the young and beautiful girl and her string of boyfriends. Outraged, Helen informs her that she intends to stay put and adds mischievously, “if you’re all very good I’ll invite you one evening to one of my orgies.”
When Christmas arrives and Hazel, now engaged, is still at Farne House, it seems the blue-rinsers are softening to her. Miss Yabsley even invites her along to tea on Christmas Eve. Hazel attends and, for the first time, has serious doubts about remaining at Farne House when she realises just how wretched these women are, notably Miss Patterson from number six “whom she had never really seen before and who was the ghastliest, most deformed little cripple imaginable.” Unfortunately for Hazel, her wine has been drugged. The women hand her over to the notorious Dr. Westover, a surgeon who disappeared some years ago when an experiment went horribly wrong. Miss Patterson no longer has to concern herself about being the most hideously deformed woman in the road …

Patrick Clark – Bitten By A Spider : “To my inexperienced eyes the man seemed to be raving mad, two natives were holding him down, but he seemed to possess an abnormal strength, for every now and then he managed to elude their grasp and frantically tried to claw his face which was swelling visibly. Passing his hand over the affected part, the doctor drew back horror-struck, for his fingers had sunk into a pulpy mass of evil smelling matter which had once been the man’s cheek …”

An expedition through the jungles of Mandalay is hit by a series of ghastly deaths, the victims reduced to “a putrid mass of rotting flesh” within minutes of being bitten by a giant spider. “[he] had evidently died in the same awful manner as the native carrier-boy the previous evening, for his face and parts of his body had swollen to such a size that the skin had burst revealing the ghastly state of putrefaction within. Ants were already busily at work and hastily snatching up a blanket I threw it over him.”

No sooner has he done so than the narrator, Walley, is set upon by a monstrous black arachnid. He destroys it, but not before being bitten. Fortunately there’s a blazing plank of wood hanging around, so he applies that to his chest, and …

Geoffrey Wyndham – Lewis – The Silent Inn: The dangers of dabbling too deeply into the mysteries of the occult. Author John Davidson’s mind gives out as he toils over the final chapter of his History Of Witchcraft. He spends the night at a remote country inn, falls under the spell of a beautiful female vampire and witnesses a Sabbat.

Arthur Stafford Aylmer – The Thing From The Pit: A policeman investigates a derelict mansion on New Years Eve and finds himself plunged into a life-or-death struggle with a winged man in the cellar. “Surely this could never have been originated in Heaven. It must have been some ghastly vision from the bottomless pit!”
The vampire (for that’s what it is) sucks his blood before returning beneath the flagstones. The narrator’s jet black hair takes a turn for the worse.

Henry L. Lawrence – A Journey By Train: Passenger shares a carriage with a man who insists he is dead. It transpires that this fellow slit the throat of the woman he loved when she married his friend. Then he drowned himself.

Vera A. Gadd – Hillmount: Roger Mainwaring, a journalist endeavors to spend three nights in a haunted manor house despite the fact that it has claimed the lives of fifteen men, all of whom died of terror. His predecessor, Sinclair, boasted that he was frightened of nothing bar leprosy, and it would be too much of a coincidence for the apparition to be the ghost of a leper. Mainwaring himself has a phobia about fire …

Tilly Scard – Lone Cottage: Tressington. Lind and Myra, just married, come upon the cottage just outside Little Wiickton and the pretty young bride pleads with her husband to take a room there. At first the old crone who eventually opens the door shoos them away, but then relents, having considered the financial implications and gives them the upstairs bedroom. Unbeknown to the happy couple, the old girl’s husband has just died and she’s locked him in the cupboard to keep him out of harms way. Unfortunately, he falls out and into the arms of Myra – who, as a result, has now spent several years in a padded cell at the County asylum.

Crystabel Earle – The Snake: India. Murray is driven to suicide by Barham and his boy, Hassan, who convince him that his wife, Eve, has transmigrated after death into the body of a Cobra.

W. A. C. Chadwick – Many Cats And One Tale: Ethel Golthrop, reputed witch, is convinced that her deceased friend John has been reincarnated as a cat. She works at her potions and is at last successful in transforming herself into a big black puss. Dr. Mattby, besotted by her in human life, foils her feline fiance by carrying her off with him.
What part of ‘horror story’ didn’t Chadwick understand?

Ada Helen – The Figure At The Window: Victor Shield falls for Mrs. Johnston next door, but soon realises he’s being used and that her ‘husband’, Sam Doyle, is actually a skilled cat burglar. Unfortunately, the tale he spun Victor about their house being haunted by a ghost with a grudge against the well-off is true. When the idol which guards the property is taken away by the police, the vengeful spectre hurls Mrs. Johnstone through the upstairs window.

Oswell Blakeston – Adventure Without Asking: David Smith accidentally gets into a first class compartment when he boards a train at Waterloo. He finds himself alone with “a small, obese creature with a face so flabby that it looked like the disintegrated face of a medium in a spiritualist photograph after he has been deserted by one ghost and before he is possessed by another.”
This man is a doctor, hypnotist and mind reader, and he’s also extremely bitter and twisted about both his unfortunate appearance and his wife’s infidelity. Having caused David to faint at the station, he has him removed to his quarters where he can torment him with a scene from his worst nightmares. Weird and extremely horrible.

A. V. Avison – The Horror In The Pond: “A ghastly face looked up at me from the depths; a face swollen and bloated and far gone in putrefaction, but alive, nevertheless, eyes starting from their sockets and glowing red with suffused fires; the very fires of Hell. The tongue hung black and swollen from the sagging mouth, white as chalk was the forehead, and stamped indelibly on the monstrous features the very quintessence of evil.”
Maxwell village in the heart of the Essex countryside. The narrator, Phil, returns after having spent several years away to spend the winter with Aunt Millicent and Uncle thingy and learns that things have been far from idyllic in his absence. Several sheep have been attacked and drained of blood by a vampire – the phantom of a man who drowned himself in the pond when he was caught killing fowl and drinking their blood. Despite being nailed into his coffin, his body disappears before burial and he begins to terrorise the neighbourhood. Only the intervention of the farmhand, Erich – “he’s a German, but he is a very nice man” – prevents Phil from becoming his victim.

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Posted by demonik on August 15, 2007

Charles Birkin (ed.) – Thrills (Philip Allan, 1935)

Tod Robbins – The Confession
William F. Temple – The Kosso
H. Russell Wakefield – A Fishing Story
Charles Lloyd – Henri Larne
A. H. Claxton – They Come For Their Own
E. F. Henry – I Am Smith
John Ashcroft Hopson – The House With No Road
Ellis Reed – The Queer People
Catherine Clark – The Divine Spark
Richard Anthony Parker Crawshay – Ashes And Ashes
H. Russell Wakefield – Death Of A Poacher
Godfrey Archard – A Bed For the Night
Kenneth Ingram – Passing of the Terror
Patrick Carleton – Doctor Horder’s Room

H. R. Wakefield – Death Of A Poacher: “The great beast rolled over, writhing and snarling, and then out from its body came a huge negro and the beast seemed to roll away around his feet.”

Sir Willoughby hasn’t been the same man since he returned from Africa where he was involved in a terrifying incident which culminated in his shooting dead a were-hyena, much to the consternation of the Masai people who consider the animal sacred. Their curse follows him back home to Sussex and slowly destroys him.

Patrick Carleton – Dr. Horder’s Room: ” … a cold and heavy body, whose stench was beyond all description, lay outstretched upon his own, its mouth pressed greedily to his mouth and it’s hands fastening his wrists.”

Cambridge University. Deliciously creepy Jamesian tale of the dire consequences that befall any pupil allocated Dr. Horder’s old sanctuary. Young Peter Lake is only spared being added to the list of casualties by the timely intervention of George the porter. The bearded, rubbery entity is a psychic sponge, draining the life of the young to prolongue its own.

This was revived by Richard Dalby and Rosemary Pardoe for their excellent Ghosts & Scholars anthology (Crucible, 1987), and, with its decidedly ghastly erotic undertones, it might have been equally at home in one of Michelle Slung’s I Shudder At Your Touch collections.

H. R. Wakefield – A Fishing Story: Donegal. Gallagher, vehemently anti-Brit, died when a river-bridge he was crossing mysteriously collapsed and his body was never recovered. Despite the hints and warnings of an old gillie, McBrain (who may or may not have had something to do with the Republican’s death), holidaying Englishmen Tranion insists on dangling his rod at the shunned spot …

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Posted by demonik on August 15, 2007

Charles Lloyd (ed) – Panics (Phillip Allan,1934)

Edith Olivier – The Night Nurse’s Story
G.W. Jaggard – Aceldama
Charles Lloyd – Shelter
Allan Govan – The Blazing Crystals
E.K. Allan – Death In Hyde Park
J. Russell Warren – “?”
Frederick Graves – The Psyche
John Ratho – Fog
Hill Johnson – A Very Potent Poison
N. Dennett – The Menhir
Elliott O’Donnell – In the Interests of Science
Kenneth Ingram – Reprieve

Charles Lloyd – Shelter: Brazil. Paul Christie spends the night at the home of Lopez, his wife and their daughter when they kindly give him refuge from a terrible storm. In the dark, he is visited in his room by one of the ladies of the house who shares his best. As he rides away next morning, he learns of the existence of a second daughter. He was lucky to catch her, actually, as she’s being consigned to a leper coloney later on today.

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Posted by demonik on August 15, 2007

Charles Lloyd (ed) – Monsters (Philip Allan, 1934)


Many thanks to Raymond Russell and Rosalie Parker of Tartarus Press and the excellent Supernatural Fiction Database for kindly granting me permission to use this cover scan.

Vivian Meik – The Two Old Women An Amazing story of African “voodoo” near Havestock Hill by the author of ‘Devil’s Drums’, ‘Zambezi Interlude’, etc.

Timothy Leaf – Harvest A grisly story of the peaceful English countryside.

Kenneth Ingram – The Confession A murderer … a brave man … and what happened.

E. K. Allan – The Round Graveyard A convincing story of an elemental – the most feared of phantoms.

George Benwood – The Interrupted Honeymoon An extraordinary situation brilliantly handled.

Phyllis Stone – Blood For A Tiger A tale of the terrible.

Edith Olivier -The Caretaker’s Story A macabre expiation. A new story from the pen of the author of ‘Dwarf’s Blood’, ‘The Seraphim Room’, etc.

Guy Preston – A Lover Came To Sunnamees A dual self and the horror that resulted.

Elliott O’Donnell – The Haunted Telephone A doctor’s incredible summons.

Michael Joseph – The Yellow Cat A story of a gambler.

Kenneth Ingram – The ‘Locum’ Horror in an ecclesiastical setting.

Charles Lloyd – The Cockroach A low cafe-chantant in Paris and the secret that it held.

Vivian Meik – The Two Old Women
Timothy Leaf – Harvest
Kenneth Ingram – The Confession
E.K. Allan – The Round Graveyard
George Benwood – The Interrupted Honeymoon
Phyllis Stone – Blood for a Tiger
Edith Olivier – The Caretaker’s Story
Guy Preston – A Lover Came to Sunnamees
Elliott O’Donnell – The Haunted Telephone
Michael Joseph – The Yellow Cat
Kenneth Ingram – The “Locum”
Charles Lloyd (Charles Birkin) – The Cockroach

Charles Lloyd – The Cockroach: Paris. Peter arranges to meet a fellow thrill-seeker at The Blue Lizard, a notorious rough house in the shadow of the Bastille. Unfortunately, his friend cries off and Peter is not seen again. His fiance, Jane, is concerned that the police aren’t taking his disappearance seriously and, together with one of the missing man’s friends, pays a visit to the cafe. It isn’t a particularly busy night: the place is half empty, with only themselves, “a dozen burly men of the navvy class, and maybe half as many women of the type politely known as ‘unfortunates'”, and the cabaret (“an old bawd … dressed as a ballet dancer in a soiled tulle, singing filth to her apathetic audience”). When she orders some stew, there is a cockroach floating in the bowl and, furious, Jane storms into the kitchen to complain. Her search for the proprietor leads her to a filthy, bug-infested larder …

Vivian Meik – The Two Old Women: A sequel to his Honeymoon In Hate from Devil’s Drums. “They are human ghouls – perverted, secret drinkers and probably given to morally corrupt practices.” Meik moves into a multi-occupied house near Havestock Hill and befriends a young woman who has been kind to him from the first. He learns that she is being preyed upon by the two Mrs. Kemp’s on an upper floor, a pair of voodoo-practicing horrors and the elderly relatives of Martin, whose body they claimed when he eventually died the previous year. First they accuse the girl of owing them £10 and even produce an IOU signed by her to that effect, then they waver the debt in exchange for a half a pint of her blood, which they forcibly attract. Now, they are after her flesh to revive Martin.

George Benwood – The Interrupted Honeymoon: John Marshall, honeymooning with Mary in Monte Carlo, is irked by the perennial presence of Mr. Darel, an Indian old-timer who is ever leching up to his bride. After John confronts him, Mr. Darel pours some liquid in his coffee whereby they exchange bodies. John wakes to find himself trapped inside the frame of the shriveled, half-crippled Mr. Darel while that degenerate prepares to bed down with the unknowing Mrs. Marshall …

Guy Preston – A Lover Came To Sunnamees: Welsh countryside. Owen Tudor, a seriously reformed religious maniac, is merrily anticipating his midnight tryst with the virginal gipsy beauty Sunnamees. Indeed, he is so reformed that, when his conscience starts playing him up, he hurls his plaster crucifix at the walls and shatters the last relic of his monastery days. As he catnaps in his chair, an elemental, composed of all his evil, takes possession of his body and he can only watch helpless as it sets off to ruin the only woman he’s ever loved.

Phyllis Stone – Blood For A Tiger: Issington, Suffolk. Richard Perrin, an actor down on his luck, lands a job as tutor to Thea, the beautiful young daughter of Mr. Ashby, with free board at Top House thrown in. It soon becomes apparent to him that Thea is being held prisoner, and a look at Mr. Ashby’s library – The Life Of The Marquis de Sade, Sexual Abnormalities and Murder And Cruelty Traced To Sex – suggests that he is responsible for the screams which sporadically issue from her room. When he catches Ashby standing over her bloodied form with a stick, it is all too much for him. Having bound and gagged the sinister housemaid, Meggie, Perrin and Thea make a run for it and are married at Gretna Green. When Mr. Ashby catches up with them, he explains just how wrong Mr. Perrin’s reading of the entire situation has been. If he has any doubts that the kindly father is telling the truth, these are shattered when Thea helpfully chooses that moment to provide a demonstration …

Edith Oliver – The Old Caretaker’s Story: The superstitious, guilt-ridden old sea salt, Horler, manfully sticks to writing up his confession even as he’s cutting lumps out of his legs to feed to the seagulls. He’s still penning his comentary as they attack him en masse and tear him to pieces.

Michael Joseph – The Yellow Cat: Mayfair. Grey, a gambler down on his luck, is pursued home by a mangy, starving cat. Despite its loathsome personality, Grey adopts it as a mascot and his fortune takes a dramatic turn for the better. First, he is visited by Felix Mortimer who presses a fiver on him for being supportive during his own struggles. The fact that Mortimer has been dead for five years gives Grey pause for concern, but the fortune he amasses at the Green Baize Club soon takes his mind off things. His downfall arrives in the shapely form of aggressive golddigger Elise Dyer who takes umbrage at the yellow horror. Grey grabs his pet by the throat and throws it in the Prince’s Canal, thereby sealing his own doom.

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Powers Of Darkness

Posted by demonik on August 15, 2007

Charles Lloyd (ed) – Powers Of Darkness (Phillip Allan,1934)


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

INCLUDED in this volume of the “CREEPS” series are many famous names, and while stories of the supernatural will delight lovers of the psychic world, thrill seekers will find sensations in plenty.

Lord Dunsany gives the explanation of a horrible and baffling murder; Hastings Turner a grisly tale of retribution from an unexpected source; C. Fox Smith, the noted writer of the sea, a story of the fate of three mutineers under tropic skies; and other contributors of considerable merit and literary reputation.

Lord Dunsany – The Two Bottles Of Relish
A.E.D. Smith – The Coat
Charles Lloyd – Obsession
Kenneth Ingram – The Third Time
J.H. Turner – The Guillotine
Cicely Fox-Smith – The Mutineers
Russell Thorndike – November The Thirteenth
L.A. Westney – The Miniature In Black
E.R. Morrough – The Temple Servant
Maureen E. Shaw – A Nice Cup Of Tea

Lord Dunsany – The Two Bottles Of Relish: The police know that Steeger killed Nancy Elth but nobody can work out what he did with the body. And why did he cut down all those trees?
A ghoulish mystery, solved by a chance remark by Num Numo salesman Smithers to his genius flatmate Linley. Killer kiss off line.

Charles Lloyd – Obsession: Hartledean. Doris Carson and Henry Russell are to wed. Joe, the village idiot, has a massive crush on Doris as she’s the only person who has ever been kind to him. After she gently declines his offer of marriage, Joe takes to stalking both she and her burly fiancé. Henry beats him up.
Events reach their grim conclusion at the old quarry when, with a superhuman effort, Joe dislodges a huge boulder, intending for it to crush the life out of his rival. It takes a nasty deflection on the way down ..

A. E. D. Smith – The Coat: On a cycling holiday in France, the narrator stops off to mend a puncture at a deserted chateau near Vosges where he is seen off by an animated coat. He later learns that it belonged to a sadistic murderer in Napoleon’s army whose own daughter was obliged to shoot him in the back.

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