Sun 29 Jun 2008
R. CHETWYND-HAYES – The Psychic Detective. London: Robert Hale, hardcover, 1993.
The psychic detective is Frederica (“Fred”) Masters, a young woman both phenomenally endowed with looks and psychic powers, who hooks up with an occult specialist, who convinces her that he can help her “achieve her potential.” He does, with results that almost destroy both of them, as they venture into twilight zone realms where no sane person goes.
The jacket sports the information that the book is to be a Hammer Film, a promise that was never fulfilled, to my knowledge. It’s just as well, since this is a far-fetched, pseudo-humorous caper that strains the imagination and collapses under its own weight. This won’t go on my short shelf of novels featuring psychic sleuths.
[COMMENT] 06-29-08. R. Chetwynd-Hayes, who was born in 1919 and died in 2001, was a British author and anthologist known best for his ghost stories and tales of “sedate” horror.
Although the two are not identified as series characters in Al Hubin’s Revised Crime Fiction IV, I’ve discovered that Francis St. Clare and his assistant Frederica Masters appeared in eight short stories besides this novel. I’ve not yet been able to identify them all; any assistance would be welcome. —Steve
[UPDATE] 07-13-08. Thanks to Jerry House and the comment he left as a first step in putting a list together of the Francis St. Clare–Frederica Masters short stories.
Doing a little more searching on the Internet, I’ve come up with the following list. John Llewellyn Probert is the person who did the research. All credit goes to him.
“The Fundamental Elemental” in Looking for Something to Suck: The Vampire Stories of RCH.
“The Wailing Waif of Battersea” in The Night Ghouls
“The Headless Footman of Hadleigh” in Tales of Fear & Fantasy
“The Gibbering Ghoul of Gomershal” in The Fantastic World of Kamtellar
“The Astral Invasion” in Tales from the Dark Lands
“The Phantom Axeman of Carleton Grange” in Tales from the Haunted House
“The Cringing Couple of Clavering” in Tales from the Hidden World