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Black Honey

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Five Star, Manchester, 1972
(price: 25p, 160 pages)

The blurb on the back:

She was a teenager, beautiful, seductive ... and unimaginably evil. She cast a spell of black magic on men, and seduced them into the gruesome sect with which she had crossed her own blood.
This spine-chilling story begins in Africa with the throbbing drums of ceremonial witchcraft, a double human-sacrifice, and the resurrection of a past-master of evil...
It ends where it continues... in England, where a monstrously-evil sect centred in an innocent-looking country-house perpetrates its twin-doctrines of ritual sex and death by torture.
This insidious creed is intended to engulf a nation - and only a few newspapermen are awake to its dangers...

opening lines:
The quick, black-velvet African night had just fallen over the Rhodesian skyline. It was time for a quiet relaxing drink before dinner.

This entry in the lists of books by ‘Peter Saxon’ appears to have been the work of Martin Thomas, and it’s not exactly a classic. But its articulation of a fear of a black planet (or, more specifically, a revival of Pan-Africanism under a charismatic religious leader) is an interesting reflexion of its period. And it’s always nice to see white Rhodesians as the poor, innocent victims of barbarism, rather than as, oh I don’t know, imperialist occupiers of someone else’s country. Say.

Mostly it’s another piece of fiction centred on an investigative journalist, which is fine by me, as long as you don’t go expecting anything very much. It may promise you ‘ritual sex and death by torture’, but the reality is the typical drawing of a veil over proceedings. Here, for example, is the climax of an orgy scene: ‘There is little point in describing the inevitable progress of the party. Dooley found it degrading and not a little ludicrous.’ (p.91) Hang on, we’ll be the judge of how degrading and ludicrous it is. Just give us the facts. What did they do? Oh, go on, tell us. But, of course, he doesn’t.

Not really worth worrying about too much.


see some bonus covers from Peter Saxon & The Guardians:
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Through the Dark Curtain
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The Haunting of Alan Mais
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The Vampires of Finistere
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Vampire's Moon
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The Killing Bone