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The Daughters of Satan

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New English Library, London, 1969
(originally published in the USA in 1968)
price: 5/- (25p); 128 pages

The blurb on the back:

The Abbey of Light - England's most exclusive finishing school - is just a front for a Satanist with terrible powers.
Behind its doors unholy black magic ceremonies take place - girls become spiritually and sexually enslaved to their diabolical master. And one man begins a lone fight against an evil which threatens the whole world.
Here is a chilling novel of modern Satanism in the tradition of Dennis Wheatley - written with all the horrifying power of
Rosemary's Baby.

opening lines:
Night cloaked the ribbons of light that outlined the sprawling metropolis. The streets still teemed with speeding cars. Brash neon cast a garish glow onto the emptying pavements. Theatre-goers were returning from the West End to their secure, suburban beds, and late-night revelers had started swinging.

Tosh, complete tosh. A number of young women in high society have committed suicide, and the police are baffled, both by the motives for the deaths and by the ivory figurine that is found at each scene. The fact that the bodies keep on disappearing doesn't aid their comprehension very much either.

What they should have done is read the sleeve notes. Then they'd have known that the finishing school in Wales was a tad suspicious. Instead we have to wade through a huge heap of nonsense that includes ruminations on the times, which were apparently a-changing:

You couldn't really rescue a modern damsel in distress, he thought ruefully; she was too emancipated and would probably call you a filthy pervert before consigning you to hell. He grinned at a private vision of an armor-clad, chivalrous knight confronting the explicit vocabulary of a swinging Kings Road dolly. (p.20)

The only thing genuinely interesting about this preposterous, and really rather dull, book is that Ms Shulman is apparently American, but choose to set her tale in London. It was originally published in the States under the title The Daughters of Astaroth, which is a far better title. Maybe the publishers realized that it was too good.

dancing daughters


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