Sunday, 14 August 2016

The Third Target Book of Horror

Kurt Singer (editor)
Target Books

I have two books that are emblazoned with a toad on the cover.  The first was 'The Fontana Book of Great Horror Stories' which at least had a Nigel Kneale story in it that featured the creatures, this one just wanted the 'Urgh' factor.

It's a bit of a hodgepodge this one.  It opens well with one of Wilkie Collins' non-supernatural stories of duplicitous French gamblers in 'A Terribly Strange Bed' before things take a distinctly downward turn with 'Psychic Alert Saved Film Star' by Frank Stevens.  This 'factual' piece tells of the actress Elke Sommer and how a psychic premonition and a ghostly visitor saved her life on two separate occasions.

The book is right back on track with the muscular macabrery of G.G. Pendarves, 'The Dark Star', which pits an alienist with a penchant for the supernatural and muscularist (I think I might just possibly have made that term up) in a spiritual battle for the soul of the latter's beloved against an ancient ancestor inside a haunted painting.

Richard Middleton
Carl Jacobi's 'Portrait in Moonlight' is a colonialist voodoo tale complete with distasteful language that delivers a well earned comeuppance to it's unpleasant lead.

I rather enjoyed Richard Middleton's whimsical 'The Ghost Ship' with it's courteous and occasionally inebriated ghosts but it's impact is lessened by the subsequent descent into more spiritualism / ghost hunting (apologies if this sort of thing is your bag but it really isn't mine) with various ghost busting memoirs from Horace Leaf in 'I am a Psychic Detective' before the book ends well with Seabury Quinn's, 'The Cloth of Madness', that finds an interior decorator extract revenge via wallpaper.

Like I said at the top, a mixed bag but one that errs on quality and is a quick and, mostly, enjoyable read.

No comments:

Post a Comment