Sphere, London, 1968
The blurb on the back:
A brilliant surgeon becomes a multiple killer ... to preserve the beauty of the woman he loves.
Peter Saxon was a pseudonym originally used by W Howard Baker to write some entries in the Sexton Blake series, but it later became a house-name used by - possibly inter alia - Martin Thomas, Stephen Frances and the Scottish writer, Wilfred Glassford McNeilly. It is this latter who was most likely responsible for the book here.
Much of the work published under the name concerned a group of goodies called The Guardians, who fight against the encroachment of black magic, Satanism and voodoo into British society - the series includes the books shown below as well as Dark Ways to Death.
The most successful single work by 'Peter Saxon', however, was the 1967 novel The Disorientated Man (by Stephen Frances, edited by Baker) which was filmed as Scream and Scream Again, with a terrific cast that included the Unholy Trinity of Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. In that book a series of murders turns out to be connected to a mad scientist. Similarly, the almost contemporaneous Corruption - also starring Cushing - has a series of murders committed by a mad surgeon. Of the two The Disorientated Man is the better, but unfortunately I don't have a copy, so I'm bringing you Corruption instead.
And it's rubbish. How much this is down to McNeilly is debateable, since the screenplay is credited to Donald and Derek Ford, and I'm pretty sure this is a novelization rather than a movie interpretation of a book. But even if McNeilly can't be held responsible for the story, his telling of it is piss-poor.
It's a shame, because the film has a certain charm: Cushing is always worth watching, jazzman Bill McGuffie contributed a neat soundtrack, and there was an early appearance by Dynasty star Kate O'Mara. There was also a swinging London element, like this:
The Guardians books are marginally superior, but much of the horror stuff published under the name Peter Saxon is little more than the work of journeymen hacks, and I'd be hugely surprised if anyone actually read the books nowadays. With the odd exception like Satan's Child, the best you can say for them is that they're period pieces, and on that level, this does at least have a picture of Peter Cushing on the cover.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 2/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT: 3/5
see some bonus covers from Peter Saxon & The Guardians: