House Of The Hatchet

Tandem Horror & Witchcraft paperbacks 1964-1975

Posts Tagged ‘fiction’

Nick Carter In Tandem

Posted by demonik on November 25, 2009

Not exactly horror fiction i realise (though The Mind Killers has potential), but the covers of the Nick Carter Tandem editions were entertaining enough to deserve a mention in dispatches.

1970, and after a century of adulthood spent in monastic celibacy, veteran crime buster and spy-catcher Nick Carter made a crucial discovery; women have other virtues beyond typing and being kidnapped on a regular basis. One instant makeover later, and sex-crazed babe-magnet Nick was going about his business with such enthusiasm that it infected even the most minor players in his adventures until they spilled over onto the covers of his 37, 000 Tandem paperbacks. Inevitably, this meant lots of dressing up in fancy costumes and it took them a while to get it right.

You can’t help but feel sorry for the bloke doing a runner. He’s got his pose spot on, the cameraman’s given him the thumbs up, he’s all set to seize the moment before cramp sets in ….. and a passing hitchhiker spots a van-load of passing peaceniks, sticks out a leg and completely ruins the shot.

Fair enough, she’s had the good grace to unbutton her shirt, but this young lady is otherwise far too unglamorously attired for a situation of this magnitude and if she’s not going to make an effort, she deserves everything that’s coming her way if you ask me. Unfortunately, that won’t be an awful lot by the looks of it as the evil boffins who scientifically programmed her captor clearly neglected to prepare for such an eventuality arising.

Miss Scruffbag could do worse than take tips from the impeccable AXE agent Tanya, heroine of The Mark Of The Costra Nostra. Tanya’s not merely a snappy dresser, either. Once she’s through showing this Mafia Suit where to get off, it’s away to help Nick escape his “inescapable death”! Actually, this may not be Tanya at all and maybe that’s Nick with his face squashed against the window? i can’t really help you because i’ve only read the blurb, but whoever she’s supposed to be, she’s OK in my book.

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Charles Birkin – Dark Menace

Posted by demonik on November 15, 2009

Charles Birkin – Dark Menace (Tandem, 1968)


Dark Menace
Happy As Larry
The Jungle
The Life Giver
‘Don’ t Ever Leave Me’
The Yellow Dressing Gown
Waiting for Trains
The Lord God Made Them All
The Accessory
Simple Simon
Siren Song

includes perhaps his grimmest war story after the nororious ‘A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts’, Waiting For Trains:  “Would the horror of this war, even in its aftermath, never end?”

Dresselberg. At the close of WWII, George Barrow, a reluctant railway transport officer in the occupying army, is powerless to prevent a train crossing the border into Soviet territory due, in part, to the indifference of his superiors who can’t be bothered to check one of the prisoner’s credentials for fear of causing a diplomatic incident. The cattle trucks are crammed with young Russian immigrants who’d been conscripted into the German army and are therefore “traitors”. When the train reaches Glenheisen they will be killed and buried in a mass grave, as have so many before them. Depressingly, this one is even bereft of the “relax – it’s only a story” get-out clause.

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Catherine Arley – Dead Man’s Bay

Posted by demonik on October 30, 2009

Catherine Arley – Dead Man’s Bay (Tandem, 1970: originally Collins, 1959. Translated from the French by Jehanne-Marie Marchesi )


“Can be confidently recommended to those who enjoy this particular form of blood refrigeration” – Sunday Times
“As sharp as a broken bottle” – Daily Mail
“An agreeably horrible little tale” – Spectator

Two days alone in the cliff-top house, in the bleak isolation of the Breton coast. What could happen in only forty-eight hours to bring her to the brink of madness?
Small incidents; trivial – but so inexplicable.
Who had put the kettle to boil on the stove?
Why was the cuff-link on the floor?
How did the cat die so unaccountably, so grotesquely?
Was she responsible? Was she losing her memory, her reason?
Or was some human agency controlling this gradual crescendo of terror?

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Charles Birkin – The Kiss Of Death 1964

Posted by demonik on October 24, 2009

Charles Birkin – The Kiss Of Death (Tandem, 1964)


Dennis Wheatley – Introduction

The Kiss Of Death
The Hens
Les Belle Dames Sans Merci
“The New Ones”
The Mouse Hole
Fairy Dust
“Some New Pleasures Prove”
The Kennel
“Mon Ami, Pierrot”
The Mutation
Lighten Our Darkness
Fine Needlework
The Hitch
The Three Monkeys
Malleus Maleficarum


Thanks to my friend Mark Samuels who provided Vault with these scans of the original, 1964 edition of of Charles Birkin’s The Kiss Of Death. Scandalously, the 1967 reissue omits one story, Lighten Our Darkness !


For Mary Etheldreda Keswick who is so deeply interested in the horrific and the macabre.

The Kiss Of Death: An obscure island in the Philippines. In her younger days, social-climber Lady Sylvia Nicholson was engaged to Colin Howard, but “jilted him at the altar when a bigger fish swam along.” Several years later she lies in bed awaiting a midnight visit from her latest lover, Philip Dewhurst. She makes love to the man who enters in the dark …. only to discover that it isn’t Dewhurst she’s sharing her bed but her old flame, Colin. Who is now a leper …

‘Some New Pleasures Prove’: Devon. Laura Campbell’s car breaks down shortly after being stopped at a police roadblock where she was warned that sadistic killer Arthur ‘The Midnight Murderer’ Smith is on the loose having escaped from the Waymore asylum. When she chances upon Jasmine Cottage, Laura thinks her troubles are over – until, watching the ten o’clock news, she realises that her genial host fits the description of the man the police are looking for.

Fine Needlework: Northern France. The ultra-wealthy Jacques is kept isolated from society because he’s a dangerous psychopath. A nanny, cook and a male nurse are his only company until Clarissa and Mary, guests of the absent Countess, arrive and, oh dear, the male nurse is drunk out of his brains …

‘Les Belle Dames Sans Merci’: “Take off your clothes my dear. It will not be too painful. While you are conscious the water will not be unduly cold … or would you sooner that Reed should strip you? He might well find it entertaining …”
Homosexual Conrad and his manservant, Reed, still have their uses for women, as his third wife is about to discover … Best described as “chilling”.

The Hitch: Another of Birkin’s unbearable stories concerning Nazi atrocities during World War II. Some years after the hostilities, the Wends innocently purchase a lampshade while on holiday in Bavaria. It has a peculiar design in black and blue, a benevolent Neptune overlooking some frolicking sea-horses. By some bizarre coincidence, Gretel, their loyal Jewish home-help, was married to a young man with such a design tattooed across his chest …

Malleus Maleficarum: London, The Savoy. Jeremy Vraders’ occult dabbling lead to his being assailed by tiny demonic figures which attach themselves to his person and accompany him everywhere. Anthea finds it all very fascinating and attractive, but unfortunately, mentions the wrong name in their company and they desert their host. Jokier than usual, and as such, not really my thing.

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Richard Davis – Tandem Horror 2

Posted by demonik on August 19, 2007

Richard Davis (ed) – Tandem Horror 2 (Tandem, 1968)



Angus James – Working for Miss Arethusa
Robin Smyth – The Dooley Street Centre Forward
J. Ramsey Campbell – Reply Guaranteed
Rosemary Timperley – Ice in Their Laughter
Julia Birley – Dead on His Feet
Walter Harris – The Forgiver
Simon Pilkington – The Inheritance
Elizabeth Fancett – I’m Not Mad Yet
D. E. Piper – From Our Special Correspondent
J. Ramsey Campbell – The Stocking
Richard Davis – The Lady by the Stream
Rosemary Timperley – Voices in the Night
Michel Parry – The Last Bus

Thanks to Steve and Charles Black for providing the cover scan and details for this one.

And thanks to D. F. Lewis for giving me his copy!

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