Richard Davis (ed.) – Spectre 2 (Abelard 1975)
Introduction – Richard Davis
Tim Stout – The Hand From Haunted Hollow
Chris Parr – TA/9/73
Frances Stephens – The Chemical Man
Tim Stout – Jelly Baby
Joyce Marsh – The Shepherd’s Dog
Elizabeth Fancett – Ghosts Look Like People
Bram Stoker – The Judge’s House
Rosemary Timperley – The Tall Woman
Gladys Greenaway – A Matter Of Timing
Tim Stout – The Hand From Haunted Hollow: Disillusioned schoolmaster breaks down (carwise) in the midst of Savernake forest- his rescuer, a woman “ninety at least” makes him a gift of a hand painted jigsaw version of the idyll in which he’s lost.
Later, at home, bad weather leaves him without electricity, so for amusement he turns to gaslight and the forgotten puzzle. However, the picture which forms beneath his increasingly unwilling fingers doesn’t resemble that on the box:
“The cemetery’s image buckled and crumbled, wrenched apart by something that was tearing it’s way up from within”….
Chris Parr – TA/9/73: A grumpy old man and joke shop employee (oxymoron of the century, or dramatic device- you decide!) gets more than he bargained for when he decides to plant TA/9/73 (a toy tarantula) on the arm of a womanising banker type in the midst of a busy London pub during the Xmas Eve frivolities. Said BT promptly runs screaming from the pub into the oncoming traffic- next time Grumpy sees him in the shop he wonders:
“Why there was no elastic holding the mask round the back of his head?”
(BTW guys, have to share one of Mr. G’s wonderfully PC thoughts:
“I don’t like women. Never have. Bother and demands is what they’re about and I can do without that.”
Pankhurst eat your heart out.)
Tim Stout – Jelly Baby: Dr. Ian Reynolds engages a conjourer to entertain his daugter and her friends at her 10th birthday party, but while travelling home accidentally bumps into the magician’s van. Due to his resulting injury the magician recommends a rival company, with the grudging warning; “I don’t want to be within a hundred miles of your place tonight.”
Reynolds is “lucky” enough to engage the sevices of the “Director”, who ensures that havoc and panic reign during little Valerie’s party. His coup de grace literally belittles Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds, and made me realise why I’ve always had an aversion to blackcurrant flavoured jelly.
Joyce Marsh – The Shepherd’s Dog: If you can read this without shedding a tear then you must be made of stone. A “Grayfriers Bobby” type tale, written with Marsh’s usual accuarate sense of place and person- an absolute heat breaker.
Elizabeth Fawcett – Ghosts Look Like People: I wasn’t keen on this one- it’s a bit Scooby Do. Although that’s me reading it as an adult- it’s not really fair to comment as the books were meant for kids.
Rosemary Timperly – The Tall Woman: Elsewhere on this site Demonik writes about F. Paul Wilson’s “Buckets” as an abortion revenge story. This is an infanticide revenge story, and no less poweful for it’s lack of gore. The child of an woman she thought she’d left behind when:
“She had pressed snow over it’s eyes, then snow in it’s mouth.”
has come looking for her…
Can you believe these books were compiled for kids?!
Gladys Greenaway – A Matter Of Timing: …reminds me of “The Woman In The Green Dress” by Joyce Marsh.
Thanks to Victoria for posting the details and plot outlines.