Friday, April 30, 2010

The House of Ravenbourne

The House of Ravensbourne by Mary Ann Gibbs
Cover Art by Mort Engel
published by Pyramid Books
Copyright 1964


left Catherine Wittingham penniless and alone,
Disregarding the advice of others and her own
premonitions, she took the position of governess
in the foreboding Ravensbourne mansion.

But the chilling memory of Mary Ravensbourne
lurked in every shadow of the ill-fated house.
And Catherine found herself the terrified target
of unspeakable evil.

A Gothic novel of romance and terror in the tradition of Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt

Ah ... the penniless and alone. You've got to love them. They've got nothin' to lose and no one to protect them. I've got to get me one. Kind of like a canary in a coal mine, they seem to be able to detect unspeakable evil. And THAT always comes in handy.

I like the cover but I LOVE the close up on the back cover. I think our amateur governess would be one of those people who just photograph better in black and white. This cover is the work of the very talented Mort Engel. Below you'll find samples of some of his other work.


The way he seems to not be paying any attention to what he is doing with that ax, makes me glad she's a nurse.

Ow .. I want that one. That is an official "Weird Dude on the Cover"!

Well this can't be good.
Even if no one plans to shoot anyone he's still drinking out of puddle. Ick!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thunder Heights & Baton Sinister

Thunder Heightsl by Phyllis A. Whitney
published by Ace Books
Copyright 1960

- Library Journal

Years ago Camilla King's mother died under
mysterious circumstances at Thunder Heights,
a gloomy, menacing old Gothic mansion
along the banks of the Hudson River.

Camilla's father, now dead, had always
forbidden her to set foot within Thunder
Heights' forbidding walls, but when her ailing
grandfather now summoned her, Camilla
went eagerly, hoping to find a home and a
family again.

What she found in this nest of bitter rivalries,
enduring hates and constant
dangers was that the same fate
that had befallen her mother
was being readied for her!

Its dark mood, brooking
atmosphere and realistic
backgrounds make
"A romantic tale in
the turn Gothic
tradition." - Booklist.

I was already pretty impressed with this novel when I realized that the Ft. Wayne News - Sentinel compared it to "Rebecca" but when the back also promised "bitter rivalries" and "enduring hates" I was SOLD! Any one who has read this blog for any amount of time should know that the only thing better would be to boast "evil" and "the occult". This book is well deserving of my "Empty Promise" award. I promise I will read this one and get back to you regarding all of its splendor.

Okay, I love cover illustrations from the 50's, 60's and 70's. for any genre, but especially Gothic romance and the more racy men's novels. So when I ran into this graphic little cover, I had to scoop it up.

This back cover promises that Baton Sinister is going to duel and wench his way through "the glittering pomp of Renaissance Genoa". With this cover I believe it!

Some how it seems dirtier in red.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

This Ancient Evil

This Ancient Evil by Dorothy Daniels
published by Lancer Books
Copyright 1966


Verna Ward was worried. Worried ... and determined
in spite of her fear.

A strange, apparently supernatural menace had taken
hold of her best friend, Lucia. Elusive and silent by
day - she walked by night and performed rituals to
the Aztec gods whose pyramid temple loomed men-
acingly over the Mendoz ranch.

Verna had to find the explanation - no matter what the
cost of her own life and wonderful new love ...

Unless Verna Ward plans to handle some highly toxic liquid I don't know why she is wearing those awful gloves.

Several years back I worked for the kind of research and development company where there were almost as many men in military uniforms as there were people in lab coats, and I can tell you that her gloves are pretty heavy duty for a chick wearing a bow that's wider than her waist.

But maybe the bow is so large to help minimise her waist and the gigantic "Umbrella Corporation" gloves are to distract from the crazy-ass giant bow. Maybe her whole fashion statement is a variation on the "Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" thing and if we were able to see her feet it would just get WAY uglier.

I'd sure like to think so!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Most Dangerous Game - Mill Reef Hall

Mill Reef Hall by Ariadne Pritchett
published by Fawcett Books
Copyright 1968

From the moment she stepped out
of the coach into the blinding
snowstorm, Lilia Franklin felt a strange chill
that was from something more than the
icy blasts that whipped at her.

Another might have turned back. But the
raven-haired young girl who had been
hired as nurse-companion to old Lord Reef
had curiosity as well as courage. Besides,
there was no alternative. She was a
penniless orphan.

Then she met Lord Reef's brother Seaton
and nephew Edgar and was more certain
than ever that she was in danger. Never had
she been made to feel so unwelcome. She
could not know then that she was in their way.

For they did not want to wait for old
Lord Reef to die. And now they had to plan
for Lilia, too. But Lilia was more than
they bargained for - much
more. And she had a few
plans of her own ...

If someday in the far future I need to hire a nurse-companion I will definitely hire myself a penniless orphan. It appears they will take all kinds of shit from you. I bet you could even hunt them. You know, give them something like an hour head start on the extensive grounds of your evil mansion and then just hunt them. My weapon of choice would be a bow but it is really a hell of a lot of fun to shoot a gun.

But anyway, back to my possible far future employee needs. I will hire a nurse-companion BUT will not hire a nurse-companion with such a long neck. I would have problems not staring and staring would just be rude. Still, a neck like that would really look great mounted on the wall of my game room.

Here we have a signed cover by the prolific Harry Bennett.

Born in Lewisboro, New York in 1925, Bennett was raised in Connecticut and studied painting and illustration at the American Academy of Art in Chicago after returning from his service in the South Pacific during World War II.

He began is commercial illustration career working in advertising with companies such as Pepsi and Keds in the late 40's and early 50's before moving on to illustrating book covers for publishers such as Fawcett, Crest and many others.

Below are several examples of other cover illustration you may or may not have seen.

Cry Shame, 1950 Illustrated Cover

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spectergirl's Crypt of Post-Code Horror

Life not horrific enough? Stop by...

Spectergirl's Crypt of Post-Code Horror

We've dusted off a mouldering short-box of penny-dreadfuls from the Bronze Age of FEAR!

It's TERROR only the Comics Code Authority would DARE approve!