D. SCOTT-MONCRIEFF – Not for the Squeamish. Story collection. Background Book Ltd., UK, paperback, 1948.

   I can’t find out much about D. Scott-Moncrieff except that it was a pen name for one William Hardy, and not the Scott Moncrieff who translated Proust. Nor can I discover the origin of the stories that appear in this book. They have the look of having appeared in the British equivalent of pulp magazines, but I can find no reference to them.

   Whatever their origin, the nine stories in Not for the Squeamish are in the classic Weird Tales style, tight and chilling narratives of “cannibalism, vampires, a leper island… robots and a twentieth century auto da fé” to quote the blurb, with sundry demons and voodoo curses thrown in for gratuitous thrills.

   Scott-Moncrieff deals all this out with a certain amount of style as well. For example, when recounting the excesses of a zealous Nazi SS officer, he mentions, “…a long love poem, written on a large piece of human skin, removed from a prisoner’s back for that purpose. One of our corporals whose German is perfect says that it was very bad poetry and a lot of it was lifted bodily from Schiller.”

   I should perhaps fess up to a certain cruelty of my own because a little more research has shown that Squeamish is not an easy book to find, nor a cheap one to acquire. I picked up mine in a grubby used-book store / porno shoppe back in the 1970s, when they were still selling things like this on the cheap-o table, and only after I’d passed it up for several visits.

   Whatever the case, I’m glad I got it, happier still that I finally read it, and urge you to do the same should you be so lucky or so rich.