Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dark Eden by Barbara Kevern [1973]

A jewel of a story. Definitely 5 stars out of 5! :-)

Scan obtained 1/31/08 via and inserted.

This novel was included in Absinthe's prize box. Thanks for tucking it into that box, Absinthe; it's one of my favorite Gothics yet and I read it in record time. I even stayed up late on a work night to finish it!

Elizabeth Jarrow Gilmore is a young magazine editor from NYC who's just inherited Harmer House near Blackston, Virginia. Elizabeth is originally from the Blackston area; at age 6 she was suddenly orphaned just a mile or two from Harmer House. Mr. Angus Harmer took the frightened girl in, wishing to adopt her; alas, county officials figured the girl needed both father and mother, and little Elizabeth was taken to an orphange. She was soon adopted by the Gilmores.

Elizabeth arrives 20 years later to Harmer House, to reluctantly claim her inheritance. Mr. Harmer had been so kind and loving to her, but this final act of care was too much. She arrives in a rain storm and sits a while in the warmth of her car, trepidaciously regarding the foreboding mansion while recalling bittersweet memories.

Once inside, Elizabeth is greeted by a cold and curt servant named Harold. Edith Harmer, Angus' sister, is the last of the Harmers; she's in her 60s and wheelchair-bound for nearly 25 years. Edith plans to move to Richmond, to a smaller Harmer home, once the legalities are settled. She invites and insists on Elizabeth staying the weekend at Harmer House as her guest rather than taking a room in a nearby hotel. Elizabeth reluctantly agrees...

...and then pandemonium ensues.

The story is the *perfect* blend of supernatural goings-on (automatic writing, spirit possession, ghosts) and human malice motivated suspense. Elizabeth falls prey to a series of terrifying and bewildering experiences; her sanity is questioned. She turns up little clues which could point in either direction of what's really going on.

In the interim she meets and falls for the handsome and debonair Harmer family attorney, Mr. Mark Shorewood. Romance of course ensues. I can easily visualize these two passionately kissing...and then some! ;-)

This novel clicks right along. It's intelligently written and there are perhaps only two "oh COME ON" small moments in it. An overall excellent blend of many elements.

I also greatly enjoyed the wonderful *Americana* of the story: Little Elizabeth and her father riding along country roads in a flat-bed truck; childhood fishing with Mr. Harmer, who loves the little girl like his own; fixing a farm silo; two mentions of a relative in the Midwest.

The cast of characters as I visualized them:

Elizabeth Jarrow Gilmore: Isla Blair
Mr. Jarrow (her father): William Schallert
Angus Harmer: Gregory Peck
Harold: Jonathan Frid
Edith Harmer: Jessica Tandy
Mark Shorewood: Jerry Lacy

Friday, November 28, 2008

Double Gothics: My 2nd

This scan was obtained via It's just a bit blurry *frown*, but I can't be too choosy.

I received it in the mail around August.

The header reads: "She was friendless and frightened when evil threatened." What appears as bright silver stars around the curving stairwell in "Amber Twilight" is indeed, and upon obtaining this volume it instantly reminded me of the infamous stairwell scene in "Poltergeist" (presumably they're supposed to represent the amber-colored candle flames). Anyway, this story is in my "to be read in near future" pile; it's written by Miriam Lynch (one of my favorite authors so far) and concerns a young photographer who's suddenly knocked out and comes-to later in an abandoned mansion. The back description reads: "Blackhall had always fascinated me. I wanted to photograph it against the soft backdrop of snow. As I focused my camera, someone crept up behind me and struck me down...I awoke alone inside the house. It was a maze of curving corridors and staircases, a strange and eerie place. There was no daylight anywhere. The flames of many candles made a perpetual amber-tinted twilight, unearthly and disturbing. I sensed something evil in this decaying house..."

Paula Minton's "Portrait of Terror" is next obviously. Its header reads: "Could she escape the accusation of murder?" Ms. Minton (or whoever s/he was) is NOT a favorite author of mine. My "1st" Gothic was her novel "Engraved in Evil"; it left me cold/disinterested. For that reason I consider "Mostly by Moonlight" by Dorothy Daniels to be my true 1st Gothic. I've also attempted to read her novel (briefly commented upon months ago in the blog) "The Dark of Memory." With all due respect to Ms. Minton (who's obviously been published)...I simply do not like her writing style. She is, however, also the author of "Shadow of a Witch" which doubles with a novelette by Genevieve St. John in yet a 3rd Belmont Double (soon to be posted) I'm going to give Ms. Minton another chance.

More to follow--

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"Those" Avon Gothics

{Disclaimer:} I do know not all Goths are Satanists [neither am I]. And that's already deep enough into that topic.

A cover of Lord Satan which I obtained via Absinthe's Gloomy Sunday blog, at her invitation [thank you!]. Can see the "Satanic Gothic" logo in the upper left-hand [how appropriate!] corner.

I also have three other novels in this Avon line [the covers of which I cannot find]: The Twisted Tree by Lynn Benedict; Red Wine of Rapture by Margaret Worth [the latter is on its way from a Canadian bookstore]; and Mark of the Rope by Miriam Lynch [I previously posted its image above, but it's not a good scan (obtained via Ebay)].

Here's a list of Avon "Satanic Gothic" editions: [and like usual the Link feature doesn't work!]

I've wondered for a while why Avon books? A few minutes' search yielded up the result of Avon having been the publisher of Anton LaVey's "The Satanic Bible." And at the time, of course, "Rosemary's Baby" had been a runaway novel/film hit. Attempting to cash in on the "Satanic Panic" craze I presume. I tried to discover if LaVey himself might have given his "blessing" on the Avon Satanic Gothic line, but to no avail.

Absinthe's treasure box has arrived!

The box of Gothics I won from Absinthe's writing contest arrived late last evening, around 5 o'clock, just as I was wrapping up a long day of work [online/in my home] and preparing to fix spaghetti & meatballs.

After dinner I enjoyed opening and delving into that big box! WOW Absinthe! :-)

Other readers: *IF* she hosts another such contest in the future, I'd encourage you to participate. You won't regret the prize!

Absinthe, you mentioned at your blog earlier this week that half the bounty would be comprised of Mystique novels. You weren't exaggerating. ;-) I was especially curious to see the titles, covers, back descriptions; I've seen a few at the local used bookstore. The cover art instantly takes me back in time. I've already picked out 4 which are in my (ever-burgeoning, lol) "to read in near future" pile:

+ Voices of Terror [Claudette Virmonne]
+ Shadow of Evil [Lise Blanchet]
+ Love's Testimony [Marianne Andrau]
+ Stalked by Fear [Liliane Robin]

Of the entire box, only 3 novels are duplicates of what I already own. I've begun reading "Dark Eden" by Barbara Kevern [alongside another Gothic I purchased]. Hoped there'd be a cover scan via Ebay or Fantasticfiction, but no. :-(

Absinthe, I'd been hoping to get a copy of Miriam Lynch's "The Doomsday Bells" and also "Lord Satan" by Janet Louise Roberts. Couldn't find either locally and was happy to see them in the box.

"Harvest of Terror" looks like an excellent NURSE Gothic. I work in the medical field and especially enjoy nurses as protagonists.

"Beast in View" -- that's got my curiosity going! She's the heroine AND fiend?

The cover art of "The Castle and the Key" is familiar. ;-) I'll post "it" soon in its different cover service.

"Mistress of Devil's Manor" is part of the Kitty Telefair Series I see. You've mentioned it.

The cover art of "Marry in Haste" by Jane Aiken Hodge is gorgeous. Hoped to find it online; couldn't. Also, "The Brides of Bellenmore" has the *classic* Gothic cover art and layout, imo.

I've got 10 of the "regular Gothics" [non-Mystique] in my "to read in near future" pile.

But it's ALL an excellent collection and I've got many hours of reading pleasure ahead. :-)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Double Gothics: My 1st

I found this Belmont Double Gothic at the local used bookstore around May; was surprised to discover such a creature existed! I *love* these doubles and have ordered every title still obtainable; currently my Belmont collection is complete except for one remaining volume.

Signet also published double Gothics. I've recently purchased a volume and its cover scan is available via that bookseller -- yay!

Interestingly (?) I can only find them [Belmont or Signet] available for sale in Canadian bookstores [aside from the volume above found locally]. All volumes are in pristine condition.

--More to follow--!

[Scanned image was obtained via]

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mist of Evil by Patty Brisco Cover Art

I found this gem just now at :-)

I reviewed this novel on 9/14/08. Here's the link to that post:

[For some reason I cannot discover, the Link feature rarely works for me. :-( Had to reinsert this as-is]

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Christmas Carol [Animated - 1971]

Image obtained courtesy IMBd.

I've not seen this **Oscar-winning** animated version of A Christmas Carol in years, but it's never been forgotten and I've always hoped it'd be aired again. It's brooding, very dark, scary [parents' comments recommend is TOO frightening for small children], Gothic; absolutely UNIQUE. Will try to hunt down a DVD copy. [unable to link directly via post, sorry]

Some -User Comments- which couldn't have said it better than I:

"Like a painting in motion: This little gem is something I saw on ABC, waaaaay back around '71 or '72...This version miraculously managed to squeeze the entire story into 30 minutes and was out and out scary. The animation looked like an old etching, come to life with lines moving everywhere to indicate shadow and form. London became a creepy, Gormenghast-like city with spires, and arches, all sort of in this weird forced perspective. I remember the gap-mouthed Marley with his jaw dropping down to the middle of his chest as he screamed at Scrooge, and the eerie candle-headed Ghost of Christmas Past whom he forced back into a large cone that one would put candles out with in those days(but smaller). Creepy stuff even for it's time. Worth finding."


"Best animated version of a Dickens classic Xmas tale: This is the best animated version of the hoary old Dickens tale ever brought to the screen. This is no assembly-line cartoon; this is a Victorian lithograph brought to life. Splendid artwork, dizzying camera angles, magnificent and painstaking animation at its best. There are master craftsmen at work here; no shortcuts or sloppy work. The only criticism I could make of it is that it's too short. I sure wish that Santa had given them an unlimited budget to work with. Probably not suitable for younger children, as some of the images are a little terrifying (the children under the robe of the second spirit send chills up my spine every time I see it). I first saw it on PBS back in 1972, I think, and it has haunted me ever since..."

Haunted is a good word for it -- and no pun intended. It gets 10 stars on a scale of 1 - 5. ;-P

+ New Banner +

Ta-da! :-)

Thank you very much Steve aka Karswell!

Also be sure to check out Images from the Gothic film :+The Crow+: on right sidebar and at bottom. It's one of my favorites [RIP Brandon Lee].

Soon to come:

1. Cover scans of Belmont Double Gothics.
2. Cover scan of a Signet Double Gothic (ordered yesterday).

With the exception of one Double Gothic (found locally), I've purchased the others from bookstores in Canada. Were these books specially printed for Canadian readers?

Those cover scans were found on the 'net: One via, one via Canadian bookseller, and the others via web site which catalogs old "double" fiction books (including sci-fi). Will credit sources as they're posted.

3. Cover scans of Sinister House of Secret Love, Vol. 1 - 3. A comic buy/trade/sell company scanned those covers and of course I'll credit the source.

And of course a book review is forthcoming when I'm done savoring the current. ;-)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

:+: The New Garnet Night :+:

I'm happy to announce this blog has been revamped. The changes:

1. Photos of cover art obtained from Ebay and downloaded into my Photobucket account and posted here (with appropriate credit). Steve aka Karswell of "The Horrors of It All" suggested I check Ebay for scans/images, as it's a veritable library of same. He was right. :-) I'm not an Ebay shopper, didn't know this. Thank you Steve! Basically there are only 4 cover art I've not been able to locate. As I work an average of 55 hours per week on the computer, this is a definite and welcomed shortcut. As to my own scanner, flu and cold and relatives/in-laws and impending holidays have conspired to push that back another 2 weeks at least. We've obtained a used computer (returnable). If installing the scanner on that fails, I'll consider a new computer.

Anyway, be sure to scroll through Old Posts to see the cover art of "Bells of Widow's Bay" and etc.

2. I've included (right-hand sidebar) -- permanently -- the fantabulous cover arts by Barrymore Tebbs and Steve/Karswell for my submission "The Tragedy of Sutterbury Manor" which Absinthe of "Gloomy Sunday" hosted as part of a contest. Thanks again to all!

3. A banner is forthcoming via Steve/Karswell. We're hammering out the final touches on it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Waiting Sands by Susan Howatch [1966]

As I think this novel would make a good movie, I must give it 5 stars. :-)

Cover scan obtained via Ebay (note the camera icon in right lower corner).

The initial setting is 1960s England. Rachel and Rohan are life-long platonic friends from childhood. They share a brother-sister type bond. Rachel goes abroad (to continental Europe), meets a female friend named Decima at a school. Both return to England. Rachel hopes to fix Decima up with Rohan, but alas his cousin Charles snatches the beautiful Scottish heiress up before Rohan can blink. Charles and Decima marry 4 months after meeting. Charles is a sociable Englishman of letters, a professor of history and roughly 15 years Decima's senior. He indulges Decima's wish to mainly reside at Roshven -- her father's ancestral estate in the Scottish Highlands, NW of Inverness.

Rachel and Decima lose touch. Rohan frequently visits his cousin Charles at Roshven, but oddly and sadly Decima never invites Rachel to visit and she's too proud to invite herself to accompany Rohan during his visits to Charles.

Two years later Rachel receives an apology and an invitation in the mail from Decima. Her 21st birthday is two weeks away. Decima (I like that name btw) sounds a bit nervous and edgy in the letter; she wants to see Rachel again, yes -- but she also fears she may not live to see her 21st birthday and to that end would like Rachel to come and help safeguard her through the event. If Decima does arrive at her 21st birthday, all of Roshven is hers; if not, Charles inherits it as her next of kin as per Decima's father's Will.

Rachel, curious though hesitant, agrees. She's particularly curious to finally visit Roshven, after all the wonderful tales Rohan's told her about it. When Rachel arrives, she discovers another "couple" is staying at Roshven: The Careys. They are brother and sister, Daniel and Rebecca.

Within 24 hours' time Rachel comes to realize she's unwittingly walked smack-dab into a finely-woven web of deceit, scheming and intrigue. She's become a pawn -- for more than just one person.

It's a very finely crafted story filled with twists and turns. The story is told from the viewpoints and perspectives of each character, alternately -- although always in narrative form; this definitely boosts the story's appeal. The Scottish Highlands, ocean, weather, wild life descriptions are keen; as if you're there.

I especially liked the 3 couples but of different orientations aspect: We have a husband and wife...blood brother and platonic friends who are like siblings but aren't. Rather unique.

The ending was the perfect "wrap up" to the entire story. Excellent overall!

The cast of characters as I visualized them:

Rachel Lord: Elizabeth Berridge (aged 23)
Rohan Quist: As he's described in the book.
Decima Mannering: Uma Thurman (aged 23)
Charles Mannering: Daniel Day-Lewis (aged 36)
Daniel Carey: Ralph Fiennes (aged 27)
Rebecca Carey: She's a nit...who cares? (aged 24)

"The Curse" of James Dean's Spyder Porsche

I'd heard about "the curse" of this car, but didn't know all these details. This was on Hollywood Myths & Legends last evening (TVLand channel) and everything presented on that show is in this online article, with the exception of Sir Alec Guiness having warned James Dean that the car felt "sinister" to him and that he'd be dead within a week...:

This definitely is eerie.

Not saying there IS (or was?) a curse on the car. But I'll admit I wouldn't touch that thing with a 10-foot pole in light of its history. The car has gone missing, btw; for decades. Presumably stolen.

Or was it?? ;-P

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gorgeous cover art

A larger version of this 1955 cover of The Quicksilver Pool by Phyllis A. Whitney:

It's been scanned alongside another. I found the novel yesterday and purchased it solely for the cover art; the story itself runs 310 pages and that's definitely 100 more pages than I care to devote to a novel. ;-) The image was scanned by a French-speaking person trying to sell the items on Ebay. Thank you whoever you are! I didn't count on finding that image on the 'net.

An update about the scanner: I've obtained a used computer (returnable) and will attempt to download the scanner onto it this weekend.

The banner is forthcoming regardless. I'll get an M.O. in the mail to Steve by the weekend.

Meanwhile I've obtained another two dozen Gothics. Have the next 3 to be read picked out, am nearly finished with the current which I'll review soon. Need to obtain another fireproof metal box for my latest in the collection. I'm soooo glad my husband is indulgent in this regard, lol!

Friday, November 7, 2008

The scanner {I just might faint}

Turned my old dino computer on. Lo and behold I get a "Found New Hardware: HP Deskjet F4200 series" prompt. :-O

Clicked it. "Found New Hardware Installation Wizard" pops up.

It's apparently now installed! :-O :-D

{::dizzy with shock and delight::}

But something seems to always go I'll hold my breath a while longer. Hopefully can start scanning the covers of novels I've reviewed this evening. Then of course I'll need to learn how exactly the process works.

More later and hopefully SOON.

Face in the Pond by Clarissa Ross [1968]

Cover scan obtained via, which was recommended to me via Barrymore. Here's the LARGE version [sorry, Link feature never works for me]:

This was a beautifully told story and a nice change of pace. It opens in May 1870, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Sarah Bennett, a governess, is on trial for allegedly poisoning her employer, Mr. Gordon, in a fit of jealous pique. The jurors acquit her on the basis of "not proven"...which of course isn't the same as "not guilty." A cloud of suspicion still hangs over Sarah's head.

A handsome blonde man attends the trial throughout. Sarah notices his supportive and kindly gazes at her. He is John Stone, who has also had a run-in with a poisoning. After the trial, the elderly judge -- who is also kindly disposed towards Sarah -- takes her under his wing. She is a guest in his home for dinner and a room, is introduced to the blonde man who'd faithfully attended her trial. John Stone is Master of Dankhurst, and needs a governess for his sickly son, Richard. Sarah agrees to employment with Mr. Stone.

Poison and poisonings continue to shadow Sarah. She begins to suspect most everyone around her, and fearfully wonders if she's unwittingly been lured and trapped into the role of scapegoat for another's activities.

A slashed portrait. A missing portrait. A quiet woman who seems not to be as demure and innocent as she appears. A sickly boy who reports his dead mother's ghost visiting him at night. An unexpected death. John Stone's mysterious secretiveness and moodiness. And just what exactly is his interest in the ancient Egyptian relics in the attic...and interest in the high and fine art of ancient Egyptian poisoning techniques?

I give it 5 stars on a scale of 1 - 5.

I had a hunch who the culprit was about 2/3 of the way through. My hunch was correct.

The only mar on the storytelling is Sarah's intensely suspicious nature (she's got it all figured out after only 24 hours on the estate, plays Judge/Jury/Executioner in her own mind). That, and her silly, unfounded over-trust in Rodney Stone. She blurts out extremely provocative and slanderous accusations with nary a second thought; also, she "confides" the wrong things to Rodney which inadvertently keeps young Richard in danger a bit longer than is necessary. She comes off as a fool, frankly. I could have liked this character a lot better otherwise.

I enjoyed the Richard Stone character, the little boy. He was a definite ray of sunshine.

The cast of characters as I visualized them:

Sarah Bennett: Katharine Ross (age 22)
John Stone: Ewan MacGregor (age 29)
Rodney Stone: Orlando Bloom (age 24)
Abigail Durmot: Emma Thompson (age 28)
Mrs. Fergus: Maggie Smith (age 65)
Richard Stone: As he's described in the book: Blonde hair, blue eyes; a sweet and sincere little boy who deserves better (and who, I'm happy to say, gets just that).