House Of The Hatchet

Tandem Horror & Witchcraft paperbacks 1964-1975

Posts Tagged ‘paperback’

Jules Michelet – Satanism And Witchcraf

Posted by demonik on September 1, 2012

Jules Michelet – Satanism And Witchcraft (Tandem 1965)

This was the age of fear and superstition when witchcraft became the great force in people’s lives.
The age of the Black Mass, the reign of Satan, the weird rites of the damned….
The age of luxury beyond imagination, unbridled sensuality, and unendurable squalor….
The age of torture, summary decapitation and the brand of witch on any young girl who could’ not survive the tests of immersion in water and boiling oil….
The age of potions, poisons, incantations, winds and spells, of feudal barons and the serf whose bride dare not fail to show favour to the overlord.
The age of Intolerance, the Inquisition and the Ordeal by Fire …
This superb re-creation is the most brilliant book of its kind ever written about the Age of Darkness.


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Ralph Comer – The Mirror Of Dionysos

Posted by demonik on October 19, 2011

Ralph Comer – The Mirror Of Dionysos   (Tandem, 1969: USA as To Dream Of Evil, Award, 1969)



The flicker of moonlight in the mirror was hypnotic, and a sudden wave of nausea swept over him. The mirror changed to a kaleidoscope of whirling colours, swelled to a vortex into which he felt himself failing …..

He stood on the sand, and a faint moon lit the arena with a gloomy radiance. The beginnings of fear caressed the nape of his neck as he recognised the cause of the elongated shadow in the middle distance. With an infinitely painful and shuffling gait, the shadow — man or animal, he could not tell — ambled across the sand towards him. Every fibre of his body, every nerve and sinew, willed themselves to flee from the stumbling horror, which, as it closed on him, raised its mutilated head and called out a travesty of his name.

See also The Mirror Of Dionysos thread on Vault forum

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Ralph Martin – The Man Who Haunted Himself

Posted by demonik on October 19, 2011

Ralph Martin – The Man Who Haunted Himself   (Tandem, 1970)



Popular and successful, happily married, all his ambitions achieved …
So why did his wife doubt his faithfulness?
Why was his best friend sure he had something to hide?
Why did his colleagues suspect him of double-dealing?
Who -or what -was trying to wreck his life?
Associated British Productions presents
Roger Moore in Michael Relph and Basil Dearden’s film
also starring Olga Georges-Picot
and introducing Hildegard Neil

See also The Man Who Haunted Himself thread on Vault forum

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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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Tony Blackburn – A Laugh In Every Pocket

Posted by demonik on May 11, 2009

Tony Blackburn – A Laugh In Every Pocket (Tandem, 1975)



Tony Blackburn breaks the fun barrier with a chart-topping album of putrid jokes and funtastic humour. A must for all three-legged pedestrians, essential to any self-respecting collector of glass eyes, compulsive reading for dachshund owners, and guarenteed to get your ears vibrating, your eyeballs rotating and your brain cells bubbling. Can you live without a copy?

“Tony Blackburn’s jokes are like prunes — they keep you laughing regularly. ” – Ed Stewart
“The finest thing of his kind since his Life of Grampworth, but lacks an Index. ” – Terry Wogan
“A sensation! Never to be repeated ” – Tony Blackburn’s Mother.
“Dear Tony, if you were going to steal gags why didn’t you steal any good ones?” – Kenny Everett

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A. N. L. Munby – The Alabaster Hand

Posted by demonik on August 18, 2007

A. N. L. Munby – The Alabaster Hand (Tandem, 1974: originally Dobson, 1949)


“Centuries-old houses, ancient leather volumes, illuminated manuscripts and long-revered traditions – these are the stuff of which the most fearsome tales can be woven. The stories in this book challenge comparisons with those of that master of the uncanny tale, the author of Ghost Stories Of An Antiquary, to whom they are dedicated”.

Tales for a winter evenings, when the  curtains are drawn, the wind-blown ivy taps against the glass, and a clammy fog swirls round the house …

Tales for a summer night when the moon casts strange shadows and the grass rustles as though someone were passing ….

Tales to read in a fire-lit library, where secret knowledge is lockedin dusty parchments …

Tales to remember in the Crypt of an ancient church or the dank chill of a graveyard .. .

Tales which will haunt you long after you have closed this book and turned out the light.

Herodes Redivivus
The Inscription
The Alabaster Hand
The Topley Place Sale
The Tudor Chimney
A Christmas Game
The White Sack
The Four-Poster
The Negro’s Head
The Tregganet Book Of Hours
An Encounter In The Mist
The Lectern
Number Seventy-Nine
The Devil’s Autograph

A Christmas Game: Dorchester, 1880’s. Father invites Fenton, an old school friend, to spend Christmas with his family after a chance meeting in Exeter. The man has an aversion to anybody mentioning his years as an administrator in New Zealand.

Despite this, things are fine until the family settle down to play ‘dead man’ (as made infamous by Ray Bradbury in The October Game) and Fenton is handed two squishy grapes in the dark. He screams and suffers a stroke. Shortly after, the narrator, a young medical student sees the ghost of a blind Aborigine stumbling about the yard and it’s obvious who he’s come for.

The Tregganet Book Of Hours: St. Denoil, Cornwall. How an illustration in a Calendar of Saints came to be defaced and replaced. It all goes back to the 15th century when Lord of the Manor and pirate Hector Tregganet cheated Thomas Prest (!) out of his land by circulating stories among the superstitious peasants that he practiced witchcraft. They duly torched Prest’s house with he and his wife trapped inside. Before he died, Prest pronounced a curse on Tregganet that he “would never be buried with his forefathers in the church of St. Fagan.” On his death in 1510, Tregganet’s coffin was indeed taken into the church, but ….

continues on The Alabaster Hand thread on the Vault forum

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