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Archive for the ‘Cynthia Asquith’ Category

The Hutchinson ‘Century’ Books

Posted by demonik on October 20, 2009

Hutchinson ‘Century of’ Omnibuses: 26 volumes, 1934-1938

Grateful thanks to Richard Humphreys who provided us with beautiful dust-jacket scans of the relevant entries. Mr. Humphreys’ Dennis Wheatley site was a forerunner to Bob Rothwell’s, and both can be found at Dennis Wheatley Info. It’s Richard’s listing i’ve referred to for dates and various snippets of information.


  • Creepy Stories
  • Humour (ed. P. G. Wodehouse)
  • Evening Standard Book Of Strange Stories
  • Sea Stories (ed. Rafael Sabatini)


  • Love Stories (ed. Gilbert Frankau)
  • Detective Stories (introduced by G. K. Chesterton)
  • Famous Trials (ed. 1st Earl Of Birkenhead)
  • 1001 Wonderful Things (ed. Walter Hutchinson)
  • Book Of The King’s Jubilee (ed. Sir Philip Gibbs)
  • Horror (ed. Dennis Wheatley)
  • Boys Stories (ed. Francis Brett Young)
  • 50 Years of Ghost Stories
  • Girls Stories (ed. Ethel Boileau)
  • Historical Stories (ed. Rafael Sabatini)


  • Western Stories (ed. George Goodchild)
  • Ghost Stories [ed. Dorothy M. Thomlinson ?]
  • Holiday Omnibus For All Seasons
  • Holiday Omnibus For Christmas
  • 2nd Century Of Humour (ed. ‘Fougasse’)
  • Cavalcade Of History (ed. Claud Golding)


  • Evening Standard 2nd Book Of Strange Stories
  • Nature Stories (ed. J. W. Robertson Scott)
  • 2nd Century Of Creepy Stories (ed. Hugh Walpole)


  • The Fireside Omnibus
  • 2nd Cavalcade Of History (ed. Claud Golding)
  • More Famous Trials (ed. 1st Earl Of Birkenhead)

Even in those instances where an editor is credited, E. F. Bleiler warns against taking the attribution too seriously, so although Dennis Wheatley’s name found it’s way onto the cover of A Century Of Horror he may have had little to do with it beyond providing an introduction. From what we know of his “involvement” in the Dennis Wheatley Library Of The Occult series for Sphere forty years later, this doesn’t sound altogether unlikely. Intriguingly, Bleiler also wonders if Cynthia Asquith had some hand in compiling a few of them, in which case the prime suspect would be A Century Of Creepy Stories. Essentially, …. Creepy compiles the contents of Asquith’s The Ghost Book, When Churchyards Yawn and The Black Cap, loans Oscar Cook and ‘Flavia Richardson’ from the Not At Night series, and throws in a number of genre classics to keep everybody happy.

A Century Of Ghost Stories (1936) is a much extended edition of the previous year’s Fifty Years Of Ghost Stories. The more generous of the uncredited editors is often cited as Dorothy M. Thomlinson.

The Daily Express tried to muscle in on the Century action with two clones A Century Of Thrillers From Poe to Arlen and A Century Of Thrillers – Second Series (Odhams, 1934, 1935)

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Cynthia Asquith – My Grimmest Nightmare

Posted by demonik on October 5, 2009

Cynthia Asquith (ed.)  –  My Grimmest Nightmare (Allen Unwin, 1935)

Help! Cover Wanted!

Help! Cover Wanted!

Cynthia Asquith – The Follower
Gabrielle Vallings – To Be Let Furnished
Miranda Stuart -Thunderbolt
Algernon Blackwood – By Water
Inez Holden – Not Long for This World
R. A. Monson – Jungle Night
L. Vorley – The Anonymous Gift
S. E. Reynolds – There Is One SOS
J. B. Morton – In the Jotunheim Mountains
E. Betts – Dead Man’s Room
Marjorie Bowen – Incubus
H. Jay – Into the Enemy’s Camp
H. de Vere Stacpoole – The Mask
N. Streatfield – Behind the Wall
E. Middleton – The Mad Hatter
James Laver – Six Months Ago
C. Madden – Rendezvous With Fate
Noel Langley – Serenade for Baboons
C. Spencer – The Surprise Item
Ann Knox – Split Second
Algernon Blackwood – The Blackmailers
Theodora Benson – Room 2000 Calling

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Cynthia Asquith – Shudders

Posted by demonik on October 5, 2009

Cynthia Asquith (ed.) – Shudders: A Collection Of New Nightmare Tales (Hutchinson, 1929)

L.P Hartley – The Travelling Grave
Hilda Hughes – Those Whom The Gods Love
E.F Benson – The Hanging Of Alfred Wadham
Walter de la Mare – Crewe
Arthur Machen – The Cosy Room
Huge Walpole – The Snow
Elizabeth Bowen – The Cat Jumps
M.R James – Rats
Algernon Blackwood – The Stranger
C.H.B Kitchin – Dispossession
Shame Leslie – The Lord-In-Waiting
W.B Maxwell – The Last Man In
W.Somerset Maugham – The End Of The Flight
Mrs Belloc Lowndes – Her Judgment Day
Cynthia Asquith – The Playfellow

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Cynthia Asquith – The Black Cap

Posted by demonik on September 2, 2007

Cynthia Asquith (ed.) – The Black Cap: New Stories Of Murder & Mystery (Hutchinson, 1927)


J. M. Barrie – Shall We Join The Ladies?
L. P. Hartley – The Killing Bottle
Mrs. Belloc Lowdnes – An Unrecorded Instance
Barry Pain – A Considerable Murder
Hugh Walpole – The Tarn
Arthur Machen – The Islington Mystery
Edgar Wallace – Circumstantial Evidence
W. B. Maxwell – The Prince
Oliver Onions – The Smile Of Karen
D. H. Lawrence – The Lovely Lady
Shane Leslie – The Hospital Nurse
Elizabeth Bowen – Telling
W. Somerset Maugham – Footprints In The Jungle
Lady Cynthia Asquith – The Lovely Voice

Elizabeth Bowen – Telling: Downtrodden Terry always suspected that he must be capable of achieving something in his life and stabbing Jacqueline to death behind the chapel during a party probably qualifies. When it comes to confessing his deed to his family, however, it’s still the same old case of nobody listening to a word he says. As much a crime story as horror with Terry very much in the tradition of the blazer and flannels psycho popularised by L. P. Hartley.

Hugh Walpole – The Tarn: Ullswater. Fenwick despises Foster. He always makes a success of things while Fenwick flounders in his wake. A clear the air meeting – instigated by Foster who doesn’t like to upset anybody – gives Fenwick to do what he’s always wanted – murder that simpering, obscenely nice, non-swimming bastard by pushing him in the tarn, that fathomless lake at the back of his house. But the icy water that acted as his accomplice in ridding him of his enemy now comes hunting the murderer.

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Cynthia Asquith – When Churchyards Yawn

Posted by demonik on September 2, 2007

Cynthia Asquith (ed.) – When Churchyards Yawn (Hutchinson, 1931, Arrow, 1963)


Elizabeth Bowen – The Apple Tree
Hugh Walpole – A Little Ghost
L. P. Hartley – The Cotillion
Ann Bridge – The Buick Saloon
Algernon Blackwood – A Threefold Cord …
Arthur Machen – Opening The Door
Shane Leslie – As In A Glass Dimly
W. S. Morrison – The Horns Of The Bull
William Gerhari – The Man Who Came Back
Mrs. Belloc Lowndes – The Unbolted Door
Oliver Onions – “John Gladwin Says”
Philip MacDonald – Our Feathered Friends
Cynthia Asquith – “God Grante That She Lye Stille”

Elizabeth Bowen – The Apple Tree: Nineteen year old Myra is finding married life difficult to cope with, not through any fault of her husband, Squire Simon who dotes on her, but on account of the tragedy which befell her as a child. Brought up in a West Country orphanage, she and Doria were thrown together through their unpopularity with the other girls. When Myra was gradually accepted into the group, Doria took it badly and hung herself from the apple tree in the yard. It was Myra who discovered the swinging corpse and the Crampton Park School affair was a seven day wonder in the newspapers. Since then, Myra has been haunted by Doria, apple tree and all, neither of whom are shy of revealing themselves in Mr. Simon’s presence either. The drain on the otherwise loving couple’s health is taking its toll. Time for interfering busybody the indomitable Mrs. Bettersley to intervene on their behalf.

Lady Cynthia Asquith – God Grante That She Lye Stille: Mosstone Village. Margaret Clewer, the youthful owner of the manor house is a charming if elusive young lady with a heart condition and “a very considerable degree of anaemia” according to the diagnosis of the narrator, Dr. Stone, with whom she has fallen in love. Margaret herself complains “I don’t feel any sense of being a separate, continuous entity … I can’t find any essential core of personality – nothing that is equally there when I’m alone, with you, or with other people. There’s no real continuity, I’m hopelessly fluid!” Stone realises too late that his patient’s ailment has a supernatural basis as her ancestress, the sixteenth century Elspeth Clewer, is gradually taking possession, causing the sweet natured girl to tear the heads off her beloved pet birds and launch a vicious attack on the nurse. Can Stone prevent the love of his life being obliterated by the vampiric Elspeth?

William Gerhardi – The Man Who Came Back: Gentle ghost story of a dying old timer who can’t bear to think of being separated from his library and imagines the afterlife as an inexhaustible supply of great books and time enough to read them.

W. S. Morrison – The Horns Of The Bull: “But sons, if either of you leaves his island for the blood of the other, my curse will strike him … and his brother will triumph over him” – so says the dying elder of the Isle of the Lamb. The two sons, Orm and Iain, have loathed each other all their lives so their father leaves Orm the Isle of the Lamb and Iain the neighbouring Isle of the Bull to prevent them killing each other the minute he’s dead. Orm, the more war-like and devious of the pair, rules his people with black magic and terror while his brother lives as a hermit. You have probably already deduced who is responsible for triggering the final conflict and who prevails in a story that has more to do with folklore than terror.

Mrs. Belloc Lowdnes – The Unbolted Door: Mr. Jack Torquil refuses to accept that his son John, euphemistically reported “missing” in conflict toward the close of WW1 is dead. It’s possible that the Germans took him prisoner or he may have been committed to a mental hospital so the door has stayed unlatched for years awaiting his happy return. His wife Anne detests her husband his delusion, his inability to the truth and their once happy marriage has been dead since the day that curt telegram arrived. Now, on the anniversary of the Armistice, the handle of the unbolted door turns in the darkness ….

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Lady Cynthia Asquith – The Ghost Book

Posted by demonik on September 2, 2007

Lady Cynthia Asquith (ed) – The Ghost Book (Hutchinson, 1926)


May Sinclair – The Villa Desiree
Algernon Blackwood – Chemical
Mrs. Belloc Lowndes – The Duenna
L. P. Hartley – A Visitor From Down Under
Denis Mackail – The Lost Tragedy
Clemence Dane – Spinsters’ Rest
Hugh Walpole – Mrs. Lunt
Arthur Machen – Munitions Of War
D. H. Lawrence – The Rocking-Horse Winner
Walter De La Mare – “A Recluse”
C. L. Ray (Cynthia Asquith) – The Corner Shop
Oliver Onions – Two Trifles: The Ether Hogs: The Mortal
Charles Whibley – Twelve O’Clock
Enid Bagnold – The Amorous Ghost
Mary Webb – Mr. Tallent’s Ghost
Desmond MacCarthy – Pargiton And Harby

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