Widow in White

The Defenceless Target Of A Mysterious Intruder

It began on a rainy Saturday afternoon as Margo was entertaining her new neighbours at a small housewarming party. A car ran into one of the trees on her property, and an injured man was soon installed in her guestroom.

But the smashup, Margo soon learned, was no accident. The handsome, ruthless stranger was after something in the house, and nothing – not even Margo herself – was going to stand in his way of getting it.

Copyright 1973 by Morris Hershman. First Avon printing, January 1973. Cover art Walter Popp. (Thanks Ruben!)

The goddess of all gifts second-hand has been very good to me recently, with at least one lovely gothic a day picked up at the local charity shops this week. Monday’s acquisition was the very fair of face Widow in White and oh, how I love this cover!

One thing I’ve noticed about my Avon gothics though – the cover art is usually stunning but the covers are particularly vulnerable to wear and tear. Quite often the artwork is almost completely scuffed off. This one is in very good condition for an Avon gothic – well, for one found on this side of the Atlantic anyway.

Here’s a taster from the inside cover:

Morris Hershman (born 1926) wrote under several pseudonyms, including Sara Roffman, Janet Templeton, Lionel Webb and Jessica Wilcox. And it’s his Evelyn Bond persona that looks to be the most prolific, with at least twenty gothics published in the 60’s and 70’s.

Here’s a short biog on the author, taken from the Browne Popular Culture Library page:

Morris Hershman was born on January 31, 1926. He attended New York University. On September 6, 1969, he married Florence Verbell, a writer and editor, though they are now divorced.

Hershman writes under the pseudonyms: Evelyn Bond, Arnold English, Sara Roffman, Janet Templeton, Sam Victor, Lionel Webb, and Jess Wilcox. He also writes under various other private pseudonyms. A member of the Mystery Writers of America, Morris Hershman resides in New York City.

And some more information, with scans of all his lovely gothics, can be found over at Fantastic Fiction HERE.

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Ace Cameo Gothic Series Part 2

Welcome back to the wonderful world of gothic mansions, bizarre accidents, handsome strangers and haunted heroines in this the second posting of my collection from the Ace Cameo Gothic Series.  Here’s numbers 13 – 18.

No 13 The Castle on the River

It was four years since Aurora had fled the huge, ugly castle on the Hudson; four years since she had seen the man who had not been able to choose between his disapproving family and his wife.

But Aurora had returned… Having never stopped loving Eric von Leyden, who now lay paralyzed in his bed after a near-fatal plane crash, the beautiful, spirited woman was once again prepared to face the hostility of the haughty Von Leydens.

It was with disbelief, then mounting horror that Aurora realized that resentment had turned to murderous hatred – that someone in the monstrous, isolated castle plotted to turn love rekindled into death eternal……

Written by Janice N. Bennett. First Ace printing June 1975.

No 14 To Dream of Evil

Lynne Crawford had loved Mark since they were children, and her joy at their marriage was marred only by her belief that she was not his first choice.

But they were happy at Trelawne House – until the night Aunt Laura mysteriously died, and, incredibly, the young bride found herself under suspicion… When Mark’s beautiful ex-fiancée returned to reclaim the man she had lost, Lynne knew she could no longer count on her husband’s love to protect her from the hostility threatening her very sanity.

With her world crumbling around her, the heartbroken girl played right into the hands of a murderer…….

Written by Louise Hoffman. First Ace printing July 1975. (Original title – The Impossible Dream). Cover by Charles Copeland.

No 15 Darkness at Bromley Hall

Ellie Harris had never met her granduncle Edward before, but when he offered her a job in Barbados, as his secretary, Ellie eagerly accepted.

But something was very wrong at Bromley. Sir Edward had disappeared, David Douglas, the handsome manager of Bromley, told her, and he had reason to suspect Peter Tyrrell, a neighboring plantation owner, had killed him.

Anxious to learn her uncle’s fate, Ellie was determined to stay at Bromley, despite the series of bizarre accidents that nearly claimed her life. Was Peter Tyrrell behind the attempts, as David claimed? Ellie had fallen in love with David and desperately wanted to trust him – until she learned that he too might want her dead. Torn between love and suspicion, it was up to Ellie to pierce the DARKNESS AT BROMLEY HALL.

Written by Marybeth Morgan. Copyright Peter Ronai. First Ace printing July 1975.

No 16 This Old Evil House

Ruth Ames could hardly believe her good fortune when she and her husband Charles found a house that they could afford. But the turquoise colour was not the only strange thing about the new house. For soon after they moved in, Ruth knew that evil had happened there. Was there any truth to the frightening stories her neighbors told – stories about the torture that was a grisly part of the house’s past and the murder that had taken place nearby?

At first Ruth tried to ignore their warnings, until one day she felt the icy fingers of fear, and the death that had haunted her home was no longer a chilling tale, but a horror filled reality…..

Written by Laura Frances Brooks. First Ace Printing August 1975.

No 17 Findlay’s Landing

Kristina Mallory had never met her husband’s family. Banished from his home as a young man, Greg had her simply he would never return to Findlay’s landing. But now Greg was dead – and his widow had been invited there to stay.

Anxious to understand the man she had lost, Kristi was puzzled when Greg’s family refused to discuss his past – until she realized that everyone at Findlay’s Landing had something to hide. What had driven Greg from his home so many years ago? Kristi turned to Greg’s stepbrother Jason. gentle, concerned, he had seemed willing to help, until Kristi learned that he too, had lied.

Trapped in a conspiracy of silence, it was almost too late when Kristi learned the price of truth was death…..

Written by Margaret Chittenden. First Ace printing September 1975.

No 18 Bright Sun, Dark Moon

(This scan taken from the web as my own copy is too tattered and torn, even for this blog!).

THREE MEN LOVED CARA STEVENS.

Her handsome, arrogant husband Garth, who had coerced her into marriage.

Evers, the younger brother, who had recently become a man;

Their cousin, Calhoun, charming and passionate, who led a secret life.

But not one of them could protect her from the insidious evil that followed her everywhere – stalking her for reasons unknown – waiting for the right moment for murder…

Written by Frances Patton Statham. First Ace printing September 1975.

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Cover Art

Look closely at the cover of No 15 Darkness at Bromley Hall and you will notice this is one of the few covers that is actually signed by the artist. The name is Walter Popp. A comic artist in the 1940’s he became a respected romance and gothic cover artist in his later years. To look at more of his work, click here.

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Book Inserts

One thing that was common to many of these editions published in the 70’s were the cigarette advertisements inserted into them. They are positioned to the middle of the book and presented as a full glossy page of glorious Technicolour temptation.

And check out that handsome hunk of hello there, Mr True.  He’s not even bothered to put on his shoes! I actually quite like the  chequered golfing look, but pea green socks? Yuk!

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