Monday, August 31, 2009

Dark Over Acadia

Dark Over Acadia by Anne Talmage
published by Magnum Books
Copyright 1971

House of
False Love...

Diana Latham came more than a thousand miles to
Davereau find her friend Lucy Devereau
struck down by a terrible accident, imprisioned in her bed
by paralysis that denied her movement, or even speech.
But was it an accident? Or was it a horrible plot? Lucy's
family seemed to accept the first, and when Diana
questioned other possibilities, they refused to listen. But
the Devereau family carried a dark curse, one that they
could not keep hidden; someone...or something...
seemed determined to strike them down. Soon Diana was
drawn into the maelstrom of building terror... and it
seemed as though her only escape would be through death!

I was SO excited when I ran across this book at a used bookstore this weekend. For me this is absolutely a first. The most bizarre things about this book is not that our cover damsel is in a wheelchair, but that she totally looks likes a dude. (click on the image to get a better look) Very Jack Lemon in Some Like It Hot but he made a more attractive women. The art is signed by Charles Lilly. I am still trying to find out if it is actually the Charles Lilly.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bride of Pendorric

Bride of Pendorric by Victoria Holt
published by Crest Books
Copyright 1963


Favel Farington knew very little about
her new husband. They met in Capri and
the dashing young heir to Pendorric had
swept the lovely English girl into mar-
riage with the fierceness of a summer storm.

It was all wonderfully exciting-until
Favel discovered that someone was plan-
ning a very special place for her in the
family-in the vault with the other legend-
ary "brides of Pendorric" who had all died
so mysteriously, so tragically and so young.

Suddenly the words "till death us do
part" took on a new and ominous meaning.


It seems to me that far too many woman get married knowing very little about their husbands in these books. Of course, I can easily see being swept away by anyone who owned a castles teetering on the edge of a cliff. I mean, how cool is that. I think I would entertain marrying the Count from Sesame Street for a house like that.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Deadly Travellers

The Deadly Travellers by Dorothy Eden
published by Ace Books
Copyright 1959

The Deadly Travellers

Pretty, vivacious, and alone in the
world, Kate Tempest always enjoyed an
unexpected adventure. When she was
hired to escort a small Italian girl from
Rome to London, she was delighted. But
little Francesca, speaking not a word
of English, mysteriously vanished into
thin air (what exactly were here child escorting credentials?)
on the Paris Express, and

no one would admit to seeing her board
the train...

Treated as a victim of hallucination,
Kate tried to find the child on her own.
Her probing led her to two attractive
men, both of whom offer their help
and their love.

By the time Kate discovered that one
of them meant to kill her, she was

caught in a terrifying web of deception
and betrayal, unable to tell which was
the friend (i'd say the one who didn't want to kill her)
and which was the enemy (the one that wanted to
kill her would be a good start)

"No one can suggest an eerie atmosphere and the
sinister trifle better than

I really think this a great cover. Once again, I can't help but wonder why there is so rarely information on cover artists. This book also has one inside illustration. Something I have not run into very often but which I wish there were more of.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Millijoy, The Determined

Millijoy, the Determined by Katheryn Kimbrough
published by Popular Library
Copyright 1977


is one of the spellbinding novels in the greatest
series of gothic romances ever conceived.
You won't want to miss the others,
all exclusively in Popular Library editions.

From the moment beautiful young Millijoy Gray came
in contact with the proud Phenwick clan, she knew she
would do anything to become a Phenwick woman.
What matter if her birth was clouded in mystery? What
matter if her childhood had been spend in torment? (really?)
What matter if now her sensual attractiveness and fiery
temper caused whispers of scandal wherever she went, (yes, had nothing what-so-ever to do with her widely know promiscuity) and led her into dangers no proper young woman
should have to defy?

Millijoy's first step was to become a Phenwick servant.
Her next was to gain intimate knowledge of the Phen-
wich secrets and the Phenwick shames. (haha!) So far she was
on the path to personal triumph-until she moved into
the power of a Phenwick man whose lust matched her
ambition, and whose evil was far beyond her expe-
rience and control...

Good lord - that is just hysterical! I promise to read this one. Check back for my review.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Death Is a Red Rose

Death is a Red Rose by Dorothy Eden
cover art by Walter Popp
published by Ace Books
copyright 1956


When Cressida Barclay rented the vacant flat in the de-
credpid mansion, she unwittingly become more than just a
tenant of the ecentric Arabia Bolton. The strange old
widow believed her new roomer to be her long-dead
daughter, also named Cressida.

Too soon, it became apparent that someone else was con-
fusing the new girl with her dead namesake. The first
Cressida had died under mysterious circumstances-was
the killer in the house now, anxious to kill again in fear
that the phoenix had risen from her own ashes?

Weakened by terror and by her growing feelings for
Jeremy Winter-a boarder who could be foe as easily as
friend-Cressida lets herself get trapped in a corner cre-
ated by another girl; a corner from which there is no
escape except death...

I was pretty excited when I realized that the cover art on this book actually held a signature. I was ever more excited when I realized the artist was Walter Popp. Born in 1920, Popp spent the 1940 doing comic book art and moved on to book cover and pulp magazines in the 1950's and 60's. Often racy in nature, his art can be seen on covers of Amazing Tales, Fantastic Adventures and True Detective just to name a few.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The House on the Moat

The House on the Moat by Virginia Coffman
published by Lancer Books
Copyright 1972


The year is 1810. And the fiery young
Irish orphan, Kathleen Killain,
arrives at the 14th Century castle, the
Moat House. Deep in the forbidding
countryside of Kent, surrounded by
murky river, this old mansion is to be
the home of Sir Peregrine and his
strangely timid wife, Nerissa. And this
is the house that Kathleen is to run.

She is joined by Polly Dean, the
white-haired, eccentric old cook who
walks about at night, and is strangely
intuitive about the lurking spirits.
And by the three chambermaids, who
enter their new position with
enthusiasm and innocence-too much
innocence. Another arrival is
Sir Peregrine's uncle, Lord Talford,
an earl who is high above Kathleen's
station-and yet one who must
become her friend, as he offers her
sanity-and perhaps even hove-in what
is to become a situation of sheer doom.

For as Kathleen slowly begins her
duties and learns of the violent, secret
history of the Moat House, she
suddenly wonders what kind of
household she has come into...full
of strange cries and a deep, hidden
terror that prophesies danger.
And maybe even death.

Okay, after reading the lengthy back cover description, I'm not sure a person even needs to read this book. Very 1950's Hollywood movie trailer.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Ravenswood by Janet Louise Roberts
published by Avon Books
Copyright 1971

House of Intrigue

Forced to choose a husband from among her
many suitors (we've all been there), Catherine Galloway settles
on Lord Simon Ravenswood, assuming
he will soon tire of her and return to his many
mistresses. Instead, he is attentive and
kind, only traveling often to Napoleon's France
on mysterious diplomatic errands. But
there is a mystery in Catherine's life, too...
she is a spy for the British government. (i did not see that coming)

When attempts are made on Catherine's life (i did see that coming) at
Ravenswood's country home on the Dover
coast, Catherine guesses that someone
has discovered her secret. But when Simon
Ravenswood's old romance with a beautiful and
passionate singer seems to spring to life
once again, the source of the threat
becomes far more puzzling, and Catherine
is isolated totally, with no
one to turn to for protection...

Okay, this is probably one of my favorite covers. In fact, I am now inspired to actually read it!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Circle of Secrets

Circle of Secrets by Claudette Nicole
published by Fawcett Books
Copyright 1972


It began with the ringing of the phone.
A voice in the night. A familiar voice
filled with sadness and terror

To Kim Morrison it was a summons
too desperate to be ignored. Although
Kim had not seen her friend Mary Ellen
Todd since college they had been in
touch. There had been letters. And phone
calls. But nothing like this.

Kim knew a little about the ancient
Todd family mansion on Heron Island.
A strange, remote place off the coast
of Georgia. But she had no idea of what
really was in store.

From the moment of her arrival Kim
became not a rescuer but a victim.
Of violence. Savage accidents. Strange
shadows. And most terrifying of all-
the news that Mary Ellen had been dead
and buries for three years!

But that had been Mary Ellen's voice
on the telephone.

Kim was certain of that...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Master of Penrose

The Master of Penrose (Originally titled: Here Comes a Candle) by Jane Aiken Hodge
published by Dell Books
Copyright 1967


Kate Croston had come to America to
escape the painful memories of her past.
Memories of betrayal. Of grief. Of

But at bleak and lonely Penrose Hall,
the young and frightened girl found her
escape turned into a diabolical jest. Her
position was that of companion to little
Sarah, the disturbed daughter of Jona-
than Penrose. But the Master of Pen-
rose was alwasy near, his powerful
figure throwing her emotions into des-
perate turmoil - until she was held as
if spellbound, while the icy fingers of a
secret guilt reached out to claim her as
a victim ...

Could they used more hyphenated words on their back cover?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fire On the Cliffs

Fire On the Cliffs by Chris Waynar
published by Ace Books
Copyright 1975

During the past fifteen
years, the world's finest

Gothic writers have appeared in
Ace editions. Ace's list has
included such prestigious names as
RONA RANDALL, and many, many others
-a policy Ace is dedicated to maintaining.

Equally important is Ace's commitment
to discover and develop lesser-known
authors. The Editorial Department, after
a sincere and careful selection, decides
which books will bear the Ace symbol.

This symbol distinguishes an elite
collection of Gothic novels. It
identifies for the reader those books
that meet the unique Ace standard
of excellence and optimum

And what a high standard I am sure it is! I don't know about you but I like my book to have optimum readability.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chalet Diabolique

Chalet Diabolique by Virginia Coffman
published by Lancer Books
Copyright 1971

A Devilish Attraction...

Twice before, Kay Aronson had been drawn irresist-
ibly to men who had wronged her, men who led
her into calamitous marriages...and disaster.
With Leo it had been different. But now Leo
was dead, killed in a mysterious plane crash
near the little-known California spa called
Lucifer Cover. Or had he been murdered?
Out of her devotion, Kay was deter-
mined to find out...

Only at Lucifer Cover itself would Kay
learn the deeper, terrible mystery
behind Leo's strange death. For there
she was to meet wicked Nadine
Janos, fiery Caro Teague,
the possessive Christie Deeth-
women different from her yet so
like her-women drawn heart
and soul to the Cove's fascinating,
youthful owner Marc Meridon.

And then Kay knew she had to
battle a third fatal yearning
-one that threatened not
only her earthly happiness
but her eternal soul!

It's nice to know that Kay gets over her husband's death so quickly. I mean, so many women, while searching for the truth behind their spouse's death, might actually mourn them for a few weeks. What a waste. Good for you Kay!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Masque of Satan

Masque of Satan by Virginia Coffman
published by Lancer Books
Copyright 1971

Mission to Fear ...

It was Jean Benedict's missionary
zeal that had brought her to the Cove
- that, and a message from a friend
who had cried out to her in torment.

But what was Lucky Schallert's
plight? Here, at the coastal resort, a
cure was offered for lost romances and
early sorrows, a renewed chance to live
as freely, as vibrantly, as one wished -
a chance, even, to call on occult powers
which offered excitement and balm for
the soul ... but at a terrible price.

Jean Benedict wanted only to help
her friend. But when she met the mys-
terious and fascinating Marc Meridon,
she knew her fight was not for her
friend's soul - but for her own ....


The Classy ads above were bound into this book between pages 120 and 121. Could anything be greater. All true literary types smoke fancy cigarettes and serve their equally literary type friends from the finest of serving ware.

We can only assume the copy of this book I was lucky enough to find was the "Book Club" edition.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Olga, the Disillusioned

Olga, the Disillusioned by Katheryn Kimbrough
published by Popular Library
Copyright 1980

The Saga of the Phenwick Women

Olga Duvan was blessed with delicate beauty (and a name as sturdy
as a truck)
, but cursed by recurring heartbreak. On a night of sinister
fog she barely survived a ferryboat tragedy, only to lose
her beloved fiancé to the merciless currents. By a stroke
of fate, roguishly handsome Jeremy Pendergast, friend
and associate of the mighty Hayden Phenwich, was her

But Jeremy was overcome by a strange spell of debauchery
and dissipation (much like Dr. Halpheneffer, PhD), and
eccentric, headstrong Hayden Phenwich beckoned
to him darkly from the shadows.

The shattering upheaval of the San Francisco earth-
quake sealed Olga's fate forever - as a Phenwich
woman. Yet one more ordeal was to follow, a test of
love and courage more final and more terrifying than
all that had gone before ...

As you can see, this cover is a little bit of a twist on the "women running from houses" traditional format. Here we have a look of concern (of disillusionment) on the face of our female fleeing either a looming boat, a sky grown angry or perhaps even a large number of birds. And while we don't know (yet) what Olga seems to be afraid of we do know that it doesn't appear to be getting her old lady dress wet.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Brand Inheritance

The Brand Inheritance by Dorothy Fletcher
published by Lancer Books Inc.
Copyright 1973

Aunt Vicky
Was Dead!

In bewilderment, Margo Brand heard the
terrible news. After thirteen years abroad,
she has at last returned to magnificent
old Brand House, the scene of her childhood,
and to the one person in the world who
meant the most to her - only to learn that
that person had just died!

But just as puzzling as the sudden death
were the conditions of Aunt Vicky's will ...
and the cryptic message she had carefully
hidden in a bundle of old letters for Margo to
find. Had she been trying to warn Margo
against danger?

But surely there was no danger from her
handsome adopted cousins, John and
Michael... from her childhood paymates,
Norma and Ben ... from the houseman
Pompy or his wife Clara.

Then who was trying to frighten her away
from Brand House ... to injure her ...
to kill her ...?


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jane, the Courageous

Jane, the Courageous by Katheryn Kimbrough
published by Popular Library
Copyright 1975

The Saga of the Phenwick Women

is one of the spellbinding novels in the greatest
series of gothic romances ever conceived.
You won't want to miss the others,
all exclusively in Popular Library editions.

When young, breathtakingly lovely Jane Munsk
was adopted into the Phenwick family, she was told
she should be grateful for the gift bestowed on her.
Now the motherless girl would bear the proud
Phenwick name, and be heiress to the Phenwick
wealth, power and position.

But from the moment the great doors of Phenwick
closed behind her, Jane realized how perilous her
new place in life would be. For in this home of
many secrets and dark violence, she was a puppet
in the hands of the tyrannical mistress of the manor
-and enslaved by a helpless passion for the hand-
some, haunted man who was her brother in name
only, and who led her down a twisting path of
danger to the ultimate betrayal of her love...

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Visit After Dark

A Visit After Dark by Daoma Winston
published by Ace Books
Copyright 1975

Her Name
Her Face
Her Husband

Recovered from a breakdown, Mary Tanner Layton
was returning eagerly to her marriage that had scarcely
begun. The confusion was gone; she and Peter would
pick up the pieces...

But Peter was living with his wife-a woman who looked
like Mary. A woman who was Mary Tanner Layton!
And only the terrified girl barely hanging on to her
sanity said she was not.

Who was this woman with her face and her name? Why
was Peter making her life a nightmare from which
nobody would let her wake up-a nightmare he'd go to
any lengths to make permanent?

Assignment: You'll notice that the whole breakdown thing seems to be a bit of a trend in goth romance books. Apparently the "weaker" sex has less of a grasp on their own identities. So please put on a good pair of shoes and start running. You may not have a good grasp on your sanity but you can at least be a decent athlete.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Castle Cloud

Castle Cloud ( originally titled The Laird and The Lady) by Joan Grant
published by Ace Books
Copyright 1949

"A sleek, well-groomed novel, moving fast
all the time ... well written and enter-

Mysterious, Shadowy, and Evil...

Traveling alone to France from her native
America, Marylda meets and falls in love with
Rowan Cairdrie, handsome young laird of an-
cient Castle Cloud. After their whirlwind court-
ship and marriage, Rowan takes his bride to his
ancestral home on the lonely Scottish highlands.

Isolated in the ghost-ridden castle with her
husband's enigmatic grandmother, MaryIda,
driven by forces she cannot explain, (my bet is boredom) finds herself
prying into an ancient family mystery shrouded
in a suffocating atmosphere of evil.

Suddenly aware of how little she really knows
about her husband, MaryIda discovers that she
holds the key to a Pandora's box brimming over
with hate, greed, and murder - as the ghosts of a
violent past clutch at her with icy fingers.

CASTLE CLOUD - a distinguished novel of
Gothic Romance and Suspense, now published
by ACE BOOKS for the first time in America.

The art for this cover is signed by Allan Kass. There is a fabulous group on Facebook dedicated to his work where you can view a vast number of his cover illustration. Click here to see their gallery of nearly 600 Kass covers.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Woman in Black

Woman in Black by Monica Heath
published by Signet Books
Copyright 1974

Mansion of Terror-

Julie had come West expecting a loving reunion
with her father, wealthy John McKay. But McKay mansion
turned a foreboding face to Julie, for her father was
dead, and her step-family viewed with hostile suspicion the
newcomer out to claim the family fortune. And when
suddenly the shrouded figure of the woman in black began
to haunt her, warning her to leave the mansion,
Julie did not know who to trust.

But in spite of herself, Julie found herself drawn to
Greg Gallagher, the handsome, brooding man whose name
was linked with so many unsolved mysteries of
the town. Julie knew it was madness to harbor such ardent
feelings about the man who might have murdered
her father, but she found herself caught in a tightening
web of terror. Could she dare express her love, and
trust her fate to this strange but irresistible man who might
lead her to her doom...?

Assignment: Can Julie pick'em, or can she pick'em? Okay, I've never read this but it just screams Scooby Doo. And, so that you'll are never find yourself fooled by some old caretaker in a rubber mask, please watch at least 4 hours of Scooby Doo, Where Are You? and take notes.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Face of Danger

The Face of Danger by Willo Davis Roberts
published by Prestige Books
Copyright 1972


Sharlee Adams was a girl without a
past, but she learned early in life not to
waste her time wondering about the
family that might have been. She was a
plain girl, perhaps too plain;
unattractive to men, she never knew
dates ... never knew love.

Until the day of the accident-the
accident that left her so horribly scarred
that plastic surgery was a must. When
the doctor operated, he corrected
nature's oversight, and suddenly
Sharlee was beautiful.

The change was unexpected; Sharlee
did not know how to live with her
new face. And then Ross Dutcher came
into her life, promising her love,
bringing her the family she had never
known...bringing her death!

Assignment: If you are plain, perhaps too plain, please go out and know "dates" and know "love". You don't want to go so long in life not knowing these things that your first boy or girl friend brings you death. Flowers are far more appropriate.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

the Beckoning

the Beckoning by Virginia Coffman
published by ACE Books
Copyright 1965

Hatred and Peril
were her nearest neighbors,
beckoning with false
smiles from the turbulent sea on
one side and the treacherous
bogs on the other...

Beautiful, widowed Anne Wicklow though she was fortunate to find employment in the ancient, isolated castle high on an Irish cliff.

Once inside the gloomy castle, Anne discovered that evil walks beside her in the drafty halls-for someone in that strange household was determined to destroy her charge lovely young Maurie, who stood between a murderer and a fortune.

By protecting the girl, Anne put herself in mortal danger. To save her own life she had to uncover a ghastly secret-even if it meant betraying the man she loved.

Assignment: Okay, there is no need to live in such a bad neighborhood. Please go out and do real estate research. School systems aren't the only thing to worry about.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Why Women Running from Houses?

Good question. Actually several years ago I had the good fortune of stumbling across a collection of 60's and 70's Gothic romance novels at a garage sale. The uses of the term "good fortune" has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of the novels themselves. In fact, they were all equally terrible. But it was my "good fortune" to learn of a previously unknown art form. The art of women running from houses.

Gracing the cover of each book was an interpretation, some better than others, of this same subject matter. On their back covers each described roughly the same story. How completely wonderful!

Since then I have managed to obtain hundreds of these books and while I may never have time to read all of them, I am making it my mission to share their glory with the world.