The Terror of the Seven Crypts
The blurb on the back:
It is the time of the French Revolution, when Madame Guillotine has a habit of inviting all of noble birth to share her bloody altar.
Well, the concept's okay: it's pitched somewhere between Poe's 'The Masque of the Red Death' and Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, and it's set in the midst of the Terror (though the chronology of the French Revolution is a bit vague here). But, boy, does it drag! The characters are hackneyed and deeply uninteresting, the moments of horror fail to horrify and there are unbearably tedious passages every place you look. You'd hardly believe that it's such a short book.
So what's going on? Who could be responsible for such a pointless piece of work? Step forward James Moffatt, the über-hack at the heart of so much of the New English Library's catalogue in the 1970s.
Clearly his foray into historical horror didn't meet with any great success because - as far as I know - this book and the later Dracula and the Virgins of the Undead (1974) are the only things he wrote under the pseudonym Etienne Aubin. Skinheads were evidently more profitable.
Great cover, though.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 1/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT: 3/5