Fontana Book of Great Horror Stories - a delve into the archives

By Dawn Sinclair

Since All Hallow’s Eve is nearly upon us, it seemed the right time to look into the HarperCollins archive and see what frightful things it had to offer for Lounge Books fans. For centuries, we have shared stories to terrify ourselves, especially at this time of year.

LB - Image - Horror Lounge - Dawn Sinclair - 1st book file.jpg

In 1966, the Fontana imprint decided to start a series which brought together some of the greatest authors of Horror stories. Christine Bernhard, an author herself began as editor for the first 5 editions of ‘The Fontana Book of Great Horror Stories’.

LB - Image - Horror Lounge - Dawn Sinclair - 5th book - art brief.jpg

A mighty list was accrued for the first book including tales by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Roald Dahl. The first book proved so popular that it ran to its 10th impression of the book (1981) which also gave the chance for different gruesome covers!

LB - Image - Horror Lounge - Dawn Sinclair - 5th book 1982.jpg

By the time that Mary Danby took over in 1970, the book was onto the 5th edition and was still filled with horrifying stories by classic authors from Edgar Allan Poe and H G Wells to Guy de Maupassant. The original cover, described above sounds particularly ghastly and obviously was changed by the 5th impression in 1982! Even Mary Danby states that ‘it’s the gruesome ones I don’t like’.

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This series ran all the way to 17th editions in 1984! Each book was filled with grisly stories for fans of horror. The final ‘macabre morsels’ included stories from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Patricia Highsmith and the final cover finished the series on a frightful high with an image to put you off soup for quite some time. Delving into the depths of the archive to find the most spine chilling horror has been a most dreadfully delightful experience! 


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