As Dr. Terror has made a start on the Pan authors, I thought it was time to pay tribute to the Fontana clan, those new or, at least, contemporary authors who would become regular contributors to the Ghost, HorrorFrighteners and Tales Of Terror series'.
Roger Malisson is as good a place to start as any. Responsible for several of my favourite Fontana moments, it was only recently I learned from the Locus site that Malisson was a pen-name of another Fontana author, Catherine Gleason.
As I don't know anything about her, here's an attempted annotated bibliography. If anyone can add to this, please do.
as Catherine Gleason
Friends: Brendon’s popularity amongst his work colleagues is due in no small part to his giving them the use of his flat to conduct their sex lives. He’s astonished - and delighted - when the office loner approaches him and requests use of it: Malochie rarely exchanges a word with anyone. Thinking him a shy introvert, Brendon invites him along to one of his parties where Malochie surprises everyone by chatting up young Mary who’d previously shown no liking for him whatsoever. The unlikely pair go missing, presumed eloped, some weeks later along with Brendon’s trunk. Then her dismembered body is found … (Frighteners 2)
A Question Of Conscience: Pits an idealistic hippy student versus his rich, reactionary uncle, a man given to bullying and blood-sports. I think we’re supposed to sympathise with Mr. Flower Power in this one. (Horror 11)
as Roger Malisson:
A Fair Lady: Police sergeant Jack Merrill moves from London home to sleepy Hobston village, North Yorkshire, with his young family after serving nearly two decades in the city. His investigation into the disappearance of a pretty young hippy hitch-hiker unearths disturbing evidence of a Druid cult presided over by his severe head mistress. (65 Great Tales Of The Supernatural)
The Thirteenth Kestrel: Stanley Davis was the only man who could fly the Kestrel without coming to grief. Even so, when he dies (suicide: complicated love life and debt) there’s no shortage of club members willing to buy it with Bill Rogerson eventually winning through. His colleagues find that odd: wasn’t Stan having an affair with his wife Lucy? Bill’s maiden flight in the Kestral is also his last and over the coming weeks the plane wipes out most of Stan’s associates in increasingly vicious and inventive manner. (Frighteners 2)
The Last Victim: Kensington & Chelsea, late nineteenth century. Sculptor Shrigley Briars is dying of consumption just as his career is taking off when he meets Satanist Amelia Crawthorn at a party (not a bad one: Oscar Wilde shows up). She persuades him to sell his soul in exchange for his health and success. All he has to do is sacrifice one sinful soul to the Devil per annum, which isn’t especially arduous considering the circles he moves in. But how does he dispose of the bodies? (Gaslight Terror)
Lady Celia’s Mirror: Kings Road, Chelsea. Gay antiques dealers Jed Jardine and Bertie Thompson acquire a magnificent rosewood mirror in a mansion-clearance. Bertie gets a dreadful shock when he glimpses a malicious looking old woman leering at him from the glass but Jed sees nothing and the pair have a tiff. They decide to sell it and Laurence, their hairdresser friend, snaps it up for his new Mayfair salon. When a pretty young stylist is murdered on the premises, Bertie determines to learn the history of the accursed mirror. ‘Camp black comedy’ is probably the phrase I’m groping for. Pop culture references: The Beatles and the Sunday scandal sheet The News Of The People (”Priory Sex Murder Shock Probe - Naked Monk Found Strangled“). (Ghost 11)
A Fairly Great Reckoning: Successful Washington lawyer Henry Baynes Neumann moves to a Tudor cottage in Kent to convalesce after a heart scare. He investigates the cellar … and finds himself thrown back into the late Sixteenth century. He’s been summoned by an old magician on behalf of a poet who is eager to know if his fame survives his death … (Ghost 12)
Disappearance: The Stanley family move into Shrapton Hall and from the first little Jane sees and converses with the ghosts of the 18th century Lady Mary Rigby and her daughters. Her mother, Elizabeth, convinces herself that Jane and her sister Sophie are merely indulging in a Brontesque fantasy … until Jane disappears during a game of hide and seek.
Back in time, a strange little girl in bizarre attire is discovered by the servants at Shrapton Hall, while in the present Elizabeth locates her missing daughter’s grave in the local churchyard … (Ghost 13)
Welcombe Manor: With the ratings in decline, it’s time for some tough decisions to be made by the producer of long running television soap Welcombe Manor which details the lives of a community of tower block dwellers. It’s decided that popular character will be bumped off in a hit-and-run by joy-riders as he leaves The Welcombe Inn. The actor who plays him, old Joe Kendal, takes it badly: he goes on a three week bender and winds up critically in hospital. When the episode is aired, the switchboard is jammed with complaints from viewers upset by the macabre scream that accompanies Joey’s death, although no such scream was ever recorded. From that day forth, Welcombe Manor is cursed. Joey’s ghost walks abroad and, as the show runs over-budget and more actors and technicians are seriously injured on and around set, it’s finally axed. (Ghost 17)
Skin Deep: After a whirlwind romance, 42 year old male model Julian Haymer-Knight marries up and coming star Sophie Seaton, 17, but within weeks of the happy event, she is killed in a car accident. At first Julian is supremely flattered that this girl loved him so much her beautiful spectre comes to visit him in their bedroom any night, but then the ravages of death start going to work … (Ghost 20)
A Little Knowledge: Martha Hudd, an alienated 11 year-old bullied by her overbearing mother, builds a temple to Kali in the woodshed. Nobody pays any attention to her until uncle Jim comes to stay. When he sees popstar Mitchie McGee almost torn to pieces by fans after Martha has blasted him out for kissing a girl, Jim momentarily wonders if the child really does have some terrifying powers after all. But that way is madness. Another tidy horror from the underrated Malisson. (Horror 10)
The Salesman: Brammingham. Struggling insurance salesman Donald Winterbottom and his wife Dorothy are invited to join the local coven. Dot thinks it will do them good to rub shoulders with all their prosperous neighbours, but, when the other women tell her of the obscene carryings on, she vows never to return. Unfortunately, Donald has already allowed the saturnine Mr. Anneheg to talk him into making a wish …. (Horror 11)
Switching Off: Dad finally had enough of Mums sleeping around and packed his bags and menopausal Miss William’s makes his every day at school a misery. The only thing that keeps Mark Sugden going is his determination that one day he’ll leave school and become an electrician like his father. His world takes an amazing turn for the better when, school and Miss Williams behind him, he gets a job as a sweeper-upper and tea maker at the salon. Pam, the pretty young proprietor, takes a shine to him and with her encouragement he begins to show promise as a hairdresser. Everything’s going well until his old nemesis pops in for a cut and dry. (Horror 16)
Countess Ilona, or The Werewolf Reunion: Castle Tyrhh, East Hungary, 13th March 1880: The Countess invites four gentlemen to a reunion party at the remote castle of her late husband. The quartet from her dubious past comprise the Baron Von Hallen, Dr. Felix Krauss, arms dealer Zoltan Vinzenz and, incongruously, Hugo Hoffman, a sensitive artist. All are party to a dark secret. During the night, amidst the cries of the timber wolves, the four are torn apart and partially eaten. It transpires that each played a party in the tragedy of Ilona’s life, namely the tainted blood of her beloved son Hugo, as each had known what her husband was when they abandoned her to him in order to further their careers. A fine slab of Gothic melodrama and the episode I’d most like to see from the series. (Supernatural)
Repression: Clare Marshall suffers nightmares in which she's confronted by a tramp-like maniac with a knife. These are so horrifically realistic that she's taken to attacking husband Jim in her sleep. When she claws at his eyes, he realises it's time to get her some psychiatric help and arranges for her to spend three weeks in London alternating between shopping, resting and visiting Harley Street specialist Dr. Deslandes. The sessions go well and she even faces up to the awful truth that she's always blamed Jim for their child's death. Reunited, they make a go of things. Then the prowler shows up outside the house .... (Herbert Van Thal - 2nd Bedside Book of Strange Stories, Arthur Barker, 1976)
As Catherine Gleason:
Ming - Richard Davis (ed.) John Pertwee Book Of Monsters (Methuen Children's Books, 1978) Fred - Richard Davis (ed.) Armada Sci-Fi 3 (Armada, 1976) The Stranger - Richard Davis (ed.) Space #4 (Richard Davis, 1977) The Woodeaves Ghosts, The Longest Journey, House of Glass and The Post Room - Mary Danby (ed.) The Green Ghost & Others (Armada, 1989)
As Roger Malisson:
See You Tomorrow - Richard Davis (ed.) Space #7 (Richard Davis, 1981) The Holiday-Makers - Young Oxford Book of Aliens (1998) Sarah - Mary Danby (ed.) The Green Ghost & Others (Armada, 1989)
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.
Post by allthingshorror on Apr 25, 2009 17:17:13 GMT
Roger Mallison was Catherine Gleason yadda, yadda - but she was writing as him WITH ANOTHER WRITER who was also female!!!!. There's a letter being written to find out who as Catherine is very much alive, and will be sent off in the week!
Post by allthingshorror on Jun 16, 2009 7:30:03 GMT
Spoke to Catherine Gleason yesterday for a good hour, she said that she wrote the Roger Malisson stories with a lady called Rita Morris, and the name is an anagram from both of their names.
Rita Morris:Hallowe’en, The Fifteenth Armada Ghost Book Armada 1983 The Green Ghost and Other Stories, Armada 1989 The Waiting Game, (vi) Space #9, ed. Richard Davis 1985
Catherine and Rita were both twenty when they started writing, fresh out of college. They started trying to write Mills and Boon books, but got so far, and found that the stuff they were putting in was rather naughty. Then they tried ghost stories and they sent off the first story Lady Celia's Mirror was sent off to four or five publishers, with R. Chetwynd Hayes taking it first.
Herbert van Thal also said he would take it, and Catherine phoned him up, very innocent about it all, saying that that would be great as it was already going to be in Ghost 11 - and Bertie roasted her over the phone for quite a while!
Roger Mallison would only be published by Bertie the once, in the 2nd Bedside Book of Strange Stories.