Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Spectral Mist

The Spectral Mist by Dan Ross writing under Clarissa Ross
published by Magnum Books
Copyright 1972


The huge old house on the California
coast seemed to be constantly
shrouded in fog, which added to the
gloom that permeated the atmosphere
and affected the senses of the people
who lived there. The master of the
house was the famed poet, Ford Hunt -
who had not been seen by anyone
but his nephew and his manservant
since the death of his wife, five years
ago. The old man kept to his attic
apartment, communicating with
no one below ... but did he really live
there? What was he hiding from ...
if indeed he was still alive? Enid Blair
could not help asking herself that
and many other questions when she
came to Cliffcrest after a whirlwind
courtship and marriage. Now she was
Geoffrey's bride, and should have
been happy in the household of such
famous a man - but Geoffrey seemed
married to the service of her
mysterious uncle ... and to a secret
so shocking that it was to
threaten Enid's sanity ... and life!

Okay, so the way I see it, Enid Blair just married a guy without a job. Oh yeah, he can say that he is some sort of personal secretary to his uncle, who may or may not exist, but from experience I can tell you that is most certainly code for "family mooch". Ford Hunt maybe a famous poet, but lets me honest, even the most well paid poet would have a hard time supporting himself, his manservant, his family and the families of his siblings and still pay the mortgage on his fog shrouded home.

Yes this cover is pretty damaged but I had to jump on picking up a Women Running From Houses book with a photo cover. This is the first time I personally have ever seen that done. Add to this fact that it is a Dan Ross and that it also features a young Grayson Hall lookalike (or is it just the open mouth stare), how could anyone say no.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reception at High Tower

Reception at High Tower by Dewey Ward
published by Dell Books
Copyright 1969
Cover Illustration: Robert McGinnis

When Maurie Thomas returned against her will to
High Tower, it was as if she were setting foot in her
ancestral manor for the first time. The lovely young
girl had but recently emerged from the darkness of
insanity, and her memory had been destroyed.

But if she did not know the strange secret of High
Tower, there were those who did. Her imperious
grandmother, with her bitter hate for Maurie ... her
father, seeking solace in drink ... the silent, hand-
some groom ... the whispering servants.

Here, where the very walls and corridors seemed
rank with evil, Maurie felt rising from the icy depths
of her mind the horror that would not let her go.

Hooray, we have a McGinnis illustration. And what a fabulous job. I love this cover. The house is awesome and the chick truly look like she is insane. I totally buy it. I'm not sure if it is the nightgown falling from her shoulders, the bizarre way her left arm hangs dead at her side or even the weird way her long finger touch she face but she seems absolutely mad.

Born in Ohio in 1926, Robert McGinnis studied art at the Ohio State University and at the Central Academy of Commercial Art in Cincinnati, Ohio. With more than 11,000 book cover along with magazine illustrations and movie posters it would be hard not to have seen his work at some time or other.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Jackal's Head

The Jackal's Head by Elizabeth Peters
published by Dell Books
Copyright 1970

The Curse of the Dead and
the Treachery of the Living ...

Young and lovely Althea Tomlinson had
hoped never to return to the Valley of the
Kings. Here her father was disgraced and de-
stroyed amid the ancient tombs and treasures
that had been his life's work. From here Al-
thea fled to New York, to start life anew.

But now a strange message from a dying fam-
ily servant and a bizarrely marked newspaper
on her doorstep had brought her back ...
back to face the brilliant, ruthless man who
had brought her father to ruin ... back to un-
earth a secret from beyond the grave ... back
to find herself trapped in a labyrinth of sus-
picion and fear, with a corpse at every turn
and the jackal-like laughter of a murderer
echoing everywhere ...

I would like to say that I have had more than my share of experience with the "Treachery of the Living" but you don't see me running from place to place. Althea flees to New York and now seems to be fleeing the Valley of the Kings. It wouldn't surprise me if she fled to Egypt originally to begin with. Althea's father looks to have been an archaeologist and if he wasn't able to "unearth a secret from beyond the grave" I don't see how how our little Miss nomad plans to do it.

I was excited when I got to pick this one up a few weekends back. The cover is a great twist on our theme but just a deserving of swift escape.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Finally ...

After many false starts, I have finally launched my blog dedicated to Romance Comics.

As Told To Stan Lee

Click on the image to take a look.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Bellwood by Elisabeth Ogilvie
published by Dell Books
Copyright 1968


Bellwood seemed too good to be
true when lovely Caroline Brew-
ster took up her post as governess
at the isolated mansion on the
great cliff overlooking the sea.

Her young charge, Tim, though
crippled, was delightfully alive.
The landscape was dreamlike. And
above all, there was the darkly
handsome master, Rees Morgan.

Caroline was sure she could help
this proud and lonely man forget
the horrible death of his wife, ease
the torture in his eyes, stop his
strange, savage outbursts of rage.
Too late Caroline realized that
Bellwood held a secret that
cursed all who dwelled (sic) ther, and
there was no escape...

We have a three choices here. Caroline is either wearing her schoolmarm get-up, a sexy nightgown in hopes of seducing Rees Morgan, or a cheap wedding dress with a elastic waistband.

While white is great for helping to camouflage chalk dust and on a governess's salary an economical wedding dress maybe the only option, I am voting for seduction-wear.

What woman wouldn't go to any length to secure herself the darkly handsome master of a mansion. Especially if he has tortured eyes and has savage outbursts of rage. The later of which was nothing what-so-ever to do with the horrible death of his wife. Nothing.

Remember there isn't a character defect in the world that really loving a man can't fix.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Letitia, the Dreamer

Letitia, the Dreamer by Katheryn Kimbrough
published by Popular Books
Copyright 1981

Saga of the Phenwick Women



Her parents had died when she was young, and Letty lived
with her grandfather (OH, that explains the clothes!) in a
decaying Southern mansion, doing chores, attending ballet
class, and dancing with her friend, Jeremiah.

Though Letty was blind (and again) to the color of Jeremiah's skin,
others were not. Wrongly suspected of an illicit relationship,
Letty and Jeremiah were forced to flee to New York City,
where they were befriended by Letty's cousins. Then they
continued on to Europe, where they would be free to pursue
their careers in the ballet.

For Jeremiah, success seems assured. But for Letty, the
struggle to the top of the dance world promises to be long
and arduous. And now there is a young man competing with
her career, forcing Letty to choose between her one great
love, dancing, and her destiny as a Phenwich woman.

I think Letitia really is a dreamer if she thinks that is a good looking dress. And that open flame! Is she crazy, that lace is apt to go up like tissue paper.

That weird hair style isn't doing anything for her either, except maybe making her head look a little too round.

My vote is for NOT being a wedding dress. No woman, no matter how preoccupied with dance, would care so little about her big day. That is unless it was only a shame marriage for whatever reason, say only marrying to help cover up the sexual orientation of best friend and dance enthusiast.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Joanne, the Unpredictable

Joanne, the Unpredictable by Katheryn Kimbrough
published by Popular Books
Copyright 1976

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,
exclusively in Popular Library editions.

Joanne was the most stunningly beautiful and danger-
ously wilful of all the Phenwick women. (WOW, that is
really saying something)
Even before she reached
the age of twenty, she knew how to be all
things to all men in order to turn them into puppets of
her desire. And from the moment she arrived at Merrihew
Manor, the ancestral Phenwick family estate in England,
she began to cast her spell over everyone from her
elegant, aristocratic cousin, to the handsome, virile
master of the neighboring property, to the worldly,
irresistibly charming man of the theater who was visiting
from London.

Life at Merrihew Manor was a whirling, intoxicating
masked ball of romance for Joanne - until she realized
the occult horror that ruled this ancient place, and felt
the tightening embraced of a satanic force that neither
her beauty nor her guile could disarm or deceive ...

Joanne really is unpredictable if only for the conservative cut of her gown. I would think that in order to wield such incredible power over men, a little more skin would be involved. But what would I know, I mean, If I could turn men into puppets of my desire, I would have the cleanest house EVER!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Family at Tammerton

The Family at Tammerton by Margaret Erskine
published by Ace Books
Copyright 1965



At best the telegram was a cruel joke; at
worst a cryptic message warning Louise
Morton to stay away from her new job at
Tammerton Hall.

When Inspector Finch was called to the
sinister old mansion to investigate a
murder, he was not surprised, for he re-
membered the telegram Louise had shown
him on the train to Tammerton, Finch had
an instinct for spotting the first trail shoots of
an evil growth. Now instinct plus
experience were telling him that LOUISE

I have no doubt this is a wedding dress. Which tells me that somewhere between the best and the worst cases scenario of that telegram is that the family at Tammerton got wind that their new nurse was off her nut.

Now I'm no stranger to confrontation but even I hate having to fire an employee. So, if it were me, and I found out that my new hire was some sort of Miss Havisham crazy, I might also try and "head her off at the pass" as they say.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Harriet, the Haunted

Harriet, the Haunted by Katheryn Kimbrough
published by Popular Library
Copyright 1976

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,
exclusively in Popular Library editions.

Lovely young Harriet was the picture of innocence - yet
within her seethed a secret that filled her with shame, and
threatened her with madness and death. (you know,
I am beginning to think these Phenwick men are simply
attracted to the wrong kind of girl)

Growing up on a lush Southern Plantation, Harriet had
been victim of a violent act that ripped her innocence from
her, and left her with a mind clouded by the unspeakable
event. Now years later Harriet hoped that time had healed
her ghastly emotional wound, and that she was free to give
herself to the handsome suitor who offered her his love and
the Phenwick name. Then Harriet discovered that terrifying
truth. The satanic spirit of the man who had caused her so
much misery was reaching out from beyond the grave to
claim her once again with his passion, and torture her with
his eternal vengeance. And not even love seemed able to
protect the most horror-haunted of all the Phenwick
women from this diabolical possession and the hellish abyss
that opened up to claim her ...

It is "So, is that a wedding dress or what?" week but when looking at this book, the question of whether our leading lady is wearing a wedding dress is actually secondary to the question of whether Katheryn Kimbrough had simply run out of good names. No offence to any Harriets out there but it doesn't seem to be a real romance novel kind of name. There is nothing inherently sexy about it, but I guess not all of us can have a name like Sugar Hill.

But, back to our question at hand. I would have to say that yes, that must be a wedding dress. Look how carefully she holds up the length to help protect it as she ... walk around in a swamp. Look at the hair she had curled so carefully and the subtle yet beautiful emerald earrings. And the neck line, cut to flatter her neck and narrow her shoulders. This absolutely has to be a wedding dress or she is really, really trying to over compensate for that name.
Welcome to ...



With the vast number of Women Running From Houses books you get an whole range of fashion. This week we will focus on the Women whose choices are bad enough that it actually become apparent of day one.

At least it would only require an annulment.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Rachel, the Possessed

Rachel, the Possessed by Katheryn Kimbrough
published by Popular Library
Copyright 1975

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.

Startlingly lovely Rachel Phenwich knew that somehow
she was not like other girls. (um ... where exactly is this going?)
It was not only that she was a Phenwich, heiress to
the Phenwick wealth, and to the Phenwick
curse. But as she passed the borderline between
childhood and young womanhood, she felt a
strange and sinister force stirring within her - and then
she learned the nightmare truth.

Hesitantly, those close to her told her that she was sub-
just to strange fits that transformed her from an innocent
girl into an abandoned creature of unspeakable desires.
And desperately, fearfully, Rachel searched for the man
who might save her - the man who could resist and over-
come the horrifying spirit that possessed her, and not be
seduced and destroyed by the deadly weapon of Satan
that Rachel's beauty had become ...


At first I thought the weird dude on the cover was the double jointed Ringmaster flasher from Patricia, the Beautiful but reading the back cover, he is probably just one of a dozen men wandering the Phenwick property trying to score with one of these genetically predisposed Rick James style Super Freaks.

Clearly Rachel is looking for the wrong kind of guy anyway. If that is what she is into, why is she looking for someone who can resist it. She should really just lose those mourning clothes and hook up with Creepy over there.

Obviously, this was way before e-Harmony.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Patricia, the Beautiful

Patricia, the Beautiful by Katheryn Kimbrough
published by Popular Library
Copyright 1975

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,
exclusively in Popular Library editions.

Stunningly beautiful and aristocratic Patricia Kel-
burn was transported worlds away from the lush
Southern plantation where she had been raised. For
reason unclear to her, she was sent to the very
private girls' finishing school of La Chenilla in far-
away Boston to be prepared for her future.

Soon Patricia began to realized she was not a pupil
but a prisoner in this strange establishment ruled
by a lady with a dubious past, and filled with shock-
ing intrigue and chilling danger. But worse was yet
to come. For it was in a yet more distant and lonely
place - the great and fearful mansion of the Phen-
wicks - that Patricia came face to face with the
diabolical destiny designed for her, and with the
powerful and perverse man who would not let her
escape ...

Firstly, I would guess that the weird dude on the cover must be the powerful and perverse man we hear so little about on the back. Secondly, the strange cloak he is wearing makes me think he is either a flasher or has a permanent "Mr. Sardonicus" smile which he needs to cover. Of course the mention of him being "perverse" makes me think we are on the right track with the whole "flasher" thing. Thirdly, the fact that he is able to point his feet in two completely different directions leads me to believe he has hip damage or is a circus performer. Being that he is also described as powerful, would lead me to believe his is perhaps the Ringmaster of the circus. The hat merely lets us know he has bad taste in hats, again pointing to the whole Ringmaster thing.

So, being the prisoner of a double jointed Ringmaster flasher is the diabolical destiny of a poor heroine? Who would have guessed.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Unfinished Portrait

Unfinished Portrait by Agatha Christie (writing under the name Mary Westmacott)
published by Dell Books
Copyright 1962

Haunted by Fear

As long as she could remember, Celia had
been haunted by a spectre of evil - a
spectre in the form of an unknown man
whose face was graven in her mind's eye
like a permanent nightmare of terror. Now
Celia found herself alone, beautiful and
vulnerable, in an isolated Spanish town,
staring in horrified recognition at the
stranger who had entered her room and
smilingly closed the door behind him.

It was he - the man of her terrible dreams,
come to brutally rip away the veils of mem-
ory and claim her as his own...

wrinting under the name
displays a dazzling new facet of her
spellbinding genius in this unforgettable
novel of breathless romance,
intrigue and danger.

Here we have an experiment in art therapy. Notice how the weird dude on the cover appears to be emerging from our female character. Also notice that the copy from the back cover clearly tells us that this "mysterious spectre" had only existed in Celia's mind "for as long as she could remember".

Take these two facts, along with statement that his "face was graven in her mind's eye like a permanent nightmare of terror" and we obviously have a case of multiple personalities. From my understanding this condition is not uncommon with those of use who are alone AND both beautiful and vulnerable. Really, it like a beautiful and vulnerable text book case.

I also think Celia needs to get laid.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year everyone and welcome to ...


where we will try and determine, using Holmes like deduction, what is up the the dude on the cover.

Hope everyone had a great holiday.