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Hugh Lamb – The Taste Of Fear

Posted by demonik on September 7, 2007

Hugh Lamb (ed.) – The Taste Of Fear (W. H. Allen, 1976: Coronet, 1977)

Introduction – Hugh Lamb

Frederick Cowles – Three Shall Meet
David Sutton – The Fetch
W. F. W. Tatham – Manfred’s Three Wishes
William Hope Hodgson – From The Tideless Sea
Michael Sims – Benjamin’s Shadow
John Blackburn – The Final Trick
E. H. Visiak – The Queen Of Beauty
A. C. Benson – The Uttermost Farthing
Ramsey Campbell – Ash
L. T. C. Rolt – The House Of Vengeance
Les Freeman – Late
Erckmann-Chatrian – The Crab Spider
Roger Parkes – Interim Report

Unusually for Hugh, he serves up a selection of stories from the Victorian age through to the (then) present day. A few of the moderns to be getting along with …

Les Freeman – Late: Darlington. Doug returns to a hotel he visited 20 years ago on a Ghost Hunt and discovers that the room he occupied on that occasion, no 75, has a reputation for being haunted and has rarely been used since.
The spectre he’d sought out on the first visit was that of a WWII pilot who died crashing his plane into the sea rather than bail out and risk it hitting a house. Whenever anyone sees his face, they die. Doug’s about to find out whether or not that’s true.

David Sutton – The Fetch:Campus horror. Finch hides behind a tombstone on Halloween night intent on scaring the students who, at the instigation of self-confessed ‘black magician’ Cookson, plan to hold a ceremony among the graves. Finch is horrified when they split open a coffin, even moreso when, during the ritual, the corpse is addressed by his name …

Michael Sims – Benjamin’s Shadow: Cornwall. An old lady leaves the narrator her entire fortune provided he spends the rest of his life on her estate, otherwise the will is declared null and void. The place is haunted by all manner of apparitions – a tiny spectral hand, mewling voices, the bath-water turning to blood, a couple dressed in the attire of a previous century, etc.
When, one morning, he sees the wall ‘rippling’ as he shaves, he decides it’s time to investigate. He discovers a child’s bones, gives them a decent burial, but still the haunting persists.

Ramsey Campbell – Ash: Lloyd, researching local customs and folk tales in the Cotswolds, temporarily moves into a house which has a reputation for being “tragic”, although the only recent history attached to it concerns a couple who had a dreadful flare-up, with the guy burning all his girl’s possessions before moving out. Before long Lloyd detects a presence about the place trailing ash into the rooms, and a woman’s voice interupts his tape-recordings and telephone calls to his girlfrind, Anthea. When he inspects the furnace in the cellar, he learns the dreadful truth …

Erckmann-Chatrian – The Crab Spider: The hot springs at Spinbronn are popular with gout sufferers until one day they flood and a heap of animal skeletons are washed out of a nearby cave, and with them that of a little girl who died five years earlier. What is responsible? All is revealed when Sir Thomas Haverchurch decides to have a swift skinny dip …

At their best, E&C’s stories are way ahead of their time, but if any of their tales warrants a “shocking”, I’d say it’s The Child-Stealer. Really nasty. Hugh compiled a
Best Tales Of Terror Of Erckmann-Chatrian (Millington, 1981).

Roger Parkes – Interim Report: Began life as a script for Crown Court but was rejected on the grounds that it was too grim. The Spiteri twins start behaving oddly from the day the family move into Stone Gables, nattering in their sleep and sitting like zombies before the TV during the day. Their parents get it into their minds that the house is haunted and the kids are possessed. An exorcism fails and even leaving the house for a caravan site doesn’t shift the “demons”, so Mrs. Spiteri takes drastic measures …

Hugh Lamb Taste Of Fear

Thanks to Ade for scanning this striking cover to the Coronet edition. 

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