I came across a lovely looking pile of vintage romance magazines, all going cheap at a jumble sale last week and I couldn’t resist digging out a few of the more gothic-looking ones for a read.
There Came Fear tells the tale of Jean, a young lady returning to London from a visit to her sister in Gibraltar. With no job and no boyfriend, she understandably feels there is not much waiting for her at home. That all changes on the plane when she meets a handsome man called Ian, who claims to be a journalist and a famous ex-opera singer, the incomparable Lucia Fidanza, or plain old Lucy Green to her friends.
Lucy takes a shine to Jean immediately, as does Lucy’s dashing nephew Robin. The future starts looking bright for Jean and she finds herself sharing the comforts of Lucy’s grand old mansion, while being wooed by two men, one of whom makes her feel protected and safe, the other, a dangerous playboy, sends her pulse all a flutter.
Of course the good times can’t last. Lucy is murdered, most probably for the beautiful jewels she rather recklessly keeps lying around the house. Jean is beside herself, both her suitors are prime suspects for the killing but without any more proof, the police are powerless to act further. It is up to Jean to solve this heinous crime and lay her worst fears to rest – but, can she choose the right man?
There’s not much I’ve found out about the Fleetwood Oracle Library line, except that they were printed in England and published each month by Fleetwood publications. The magazines themselves comprise of a single story, about sixty pages long, with no additional information that I can see about the author or the artist.
Though There Came Fear is more of a standard romance rather than a gothic, I can live in hope I might stumble across some gothic romance magazines one day, or perhaps something along the lines of the penny dreadfuls that were so popular in the 19th Century. Marvel published a series of gothic romance magazines in the mid-seventies but they are quite rare nowadays – some cover scans can be seen over at Stl Cover Galleries. They look gorgeous!