Sunday, May 6, 2012

Occult & Horror Fiction 3

I shall polish off the remainder of my collection of occult and horror fiction tonight, starting with a collection of spooky stories written by women. The book is entitled, appropriately enough, Haunting Women edited by Alan Ryan and published in 1988 by Avon.


Next, two novels by American SF writer Lucius Shephard, Green Eyes, a quite fascinating zombie novel, and The Golden, Shepard’s take on the vampire genre.

shepard_greeneyes shepard_thegolden

Dan Simmons writes novels in a number of genres, Science Fiction and Horror predominantly. I prefer his Science Fiction novels, but in the early days, after I was bowled over by his Hyperion Cantos, I tasted a few of his other novels.  Carrion Comfort draws its title from the poem by Gerard Manly Hopkins, but is in essence a vampire novel. Fires of Eden is set in Hawaii and centres on that island’s history and mythology.

simmons_carrioncomfort simmons_firesofeden

The next novel by Michael Talbot is a beguiling, beautifully written vampire novel and is entitled The Delicate Dependency, A Novel of Vampire Life. I loved this novel when I first read it, and still occasionally reread it with pleasure. The edition is an Avon paperback published in 1982.


Evangeline Walton is best known for her sequence of books, retelling the Mabinogian, published in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series in the 1970s.  She also wrote several other novels, and Witch House is one of them. The edition below was published in 1991 by Collier Books.


Who Fears The Devil is a collection of short stories by Manly Wade Wellman, a prolific writer of horror, science fiction ,folk tales and true crime.

The edition below was published in 1975 by Star Books.


The final book in this collection of occult and horror fiction, is The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton, published by Fawcett in 1976.


Coming next – something completely different.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Occult & Horror Fiction 2

There is hardly any information on Julian Gloag, the author of Lost And Found, other than that his best known novel Our Mother’s House was made into  a movie 1967 and starred Dirk Bogarde. Obviously when I was sorting out which books to include in crime or horror, I have allocated Lost And Found as a horror novel. Whether it is, I have yet to discover, as I can’t remember a thing about it, though reading the review in the title link above, it sounds as if it has an intriguing plot.

The paperback edition below was published by Pocket Books in 1983.


A stray Pelican seems to have attached itself to this category, it being Witchcraft by Pennethorne Hughes. It has a splendid Hieronymus Bosch cover and is a 1966/7 edition.


Next, a horror novel by the grand mistress of sf/fantasy, Tanith Lee called Dark Dance the first book in the Blood Opera trilogy.


Two more classic novels published in the Dennis Wheatley Library of the Occult, the first being The Witch And The Priest by Hilda Lewis, and the second being The Prisoner In The Opal by A. E. W. Mason.

lewis_witchandpriest mason_prisoneroftheopal

And finally for this post, The Dream Detective by Sax Rohmer, best known as the author of the Fu Manchu novels. This large paperback edition was published by Dover 1977.


The final entry on occult and horror will be posted shortly.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Occult & Horror Fiction 1

I must admit I am not much of a fan of horror fiction. Call me squeamish if you like, but it is not a genre I would go out of my way to collect. However, I do have a small selection, mostly from the occult side of the spectrum. I don’t mind the supernatural or the spooky at all.

First up an interesting supernatural thriller by Thomas Bontly, called Celestial Chess with a striking cover illustration. This Ballantine paperback was published in 1980.


Suzy McKee Charnas is well known for her feminist dystopian trilogy which began with Walk To The End Of The World and is generally referred to as the Holdfast Chronicles. She also penned this superior vampire novel, The Vampire Tapestry.

This paperback was published in 1981 by Pocket Books.


An Affair of Sorcerers is a novel in George C Chesbro in his Mongo The Magnificent  series of detective novels, so probably this book belongs in the crime fiction section, despite having sorcerers in its title, though the cover image looks spooky. This book was published by Signet in 1979.


Another two vampire novels, this time by Nancy A Collins, Sunglasses After Dark, and its sequel, In the Blood. Sunglasses was her first published novel and is an interesting take on the vampire genre, and has a rather stylish cover. There’s a whole series of Sonja Blue novels, but these are the only two I’ve read or indeed possess.

collins_sunglasses collins_intheblood

I will finish this entry with two old style occult novels, firstly The Witch of Prague by F. Marion Crawford, published in the Dennis Wheatley Library of the Occult in 1974,  and  Moonchild by Aleister Crowley in an old 1971 Avon edition.

crawford_witchofprague_sphere1974 crowley_moonchild_avon1971

More occult and horror to follow.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Crime Fiction 12

"He was the Poe of the Twentieth century, the poet of the shadows, the Hitchcock of the written word." Francis M. Nevins Jr., Cornell Woolrich historian and biographer.

I found the above quote at a Cornell Woolrich fan site and it aptly describes the suspenseful novels of the so called godfather of noir fiction. I did a bit of research on the net before writing this post and came to the conclusion that Cornell Woolrich was obviously a very strange man, as are his books.

The editions displayed below were published by Ballantine in the early 1980s. I love the noir retro covers. Cover artist not credited.


woolrich_blackalibi woolrich_blackangel
woolrich_blackcurtain woolrich_blackpath
woolrich_nighthas1000eyes woolrich_rendezvousinblack


That’s it for crime fiction. Next I will be displaying my small collection of occult and horror books.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Crime Fiction 11

It’s back to more conventional crime fiction this evening, starting with Barbara Vine, who is in fact Ruth Rendell  writing under a pseudonym. 

Vine’s books are more psychological thrillers than straight out detective mysteries; nevertheless are quite engaging to read.

vine_astasbook vine_darkadapted


The Miss Silver detective novels of Patricia Wentworth have been compared to Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple novels, in that Miss Silver is another spinster lady sleuth. I must admit I haven’t read Patricia Wentworth for years, so can’t compare the two. You have probably noticed I have not displayed any Agatha Christie novels. This is because I don’t have any in my library, though I have read a few in the past and watched the television adaptations. Anyway, I appear to have only two Miss Silver novels.

wentworth_greymask wentworth_listeningeye

And finally for this post, The Lady Vanishes by Ethel Lina White. The Lady Vanishes is well known as a film by Alfred Hitchcock, who adapted the book to screen.

The paperback edition below was published by Zebra Books in 1987.


I will be concluding the crime fiction shelf next post, with one of the greats of the genre – the noir thrillers of  Cornell Woolrich.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Crime Fiction 10

It is a curious coincidence, that this post on the Judge Dee novels of Robert van Gulik should follow a post on the novels of Janwillem van de Wetering, as the latter, after discovering the books of the former in 1960s, was so taken with them he wrote a biography of Robert van Gulik which was published in 1988.

Robert van Gulik, like Janwillem van de Wetering, led an interesting and widely travelled life. He is famous for the Judge Dee novels, a series of novels set in ancient China, featuring the semi-fictional character of Judge Dee who is based on the historical figure Di Renjie, magistrate and statesman of the Tang court.

I have a small collection of the Judge Dee novels in my library several published in a uniform edition by University of Chicago Press in 1977, and two large format Dover books. They all contain illustrations by the author.


vangulik_chinesebell vangulik_chinesegold
vangulik_chineselake vangulik_chinesenail


I am drawing to the end of my crime fiction collection, so should be able to polish them off in the next post or so. Coming next Barbara Vine & Patricia Wentworth.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Crime Fiction 9

Tonight I bring to you the wonderful detective fiction of Janwillem van de Wetering, who wrote a series of novels set in Amsterdam, featuring Grijpstra and De Gier who work as detectives for the Murder Brigade of Amsterdam Municipal Police.

van de Wetering had an interesting and adventurous life, which included a stint working for the police, in the Amsterdam Special Constabulary. He was also a practising Zen Buddhist. His novels are quirky with an off beat humour. He died in 2008, so alas no more Grijpstra and De Gier  novels.

I have a pretty good collection of his novels, some in British paperback editions, some in US editions.  In chronological order they are as follows:

vandewetering_outsider vandewetering_tumbleweed
vandewetering_corpseondike vandewetering_hawker
vandewetering_japanesecorpse vandewetering_blondbaboon
vandewetering_mainemassacre vandewetering_rattlerat
vandewetering_sergeantscat vandewetering_hardrain

I have two hard covers as well – The Mind Murders & The Street Bird which I have previously posted. I’m missing the later novels published in the 1990s.

Coming next – Judge Dee, the Chinese mystery novels of Robert Van Gulik