The real surprise is that this hasn’t been done before. The long-running (and much-loved) Pan Book of Horror Stories series had an indelible effect on many British readers – including this writer — from its first appearance in December 1959, but few of the avid readers of the series knew anything about its famous (but obscure) editor Herbert Van Thal. In this fascinating (if slim) volume, Johnny Mains answers many questions about the difficult but inspirational character whose books have left a pleasurable scar on many an aficionado of the horror tale. The slippery Van Thal was the great literary predecessor to such latter-day master horror anthologists as Stephen Jones. The author has tracked down several other writers who worked with Van Thal, and some interesting (and frank))correspondence is revealed. But beware: Johnny Mains’ Lest you Suffer Nightmares will have you pulling out all those dusty Pan volumes again.

Lest you Suffer Nightmares: A Biography of Herbert Van Thal by Johnny Mains is published by Screaming Dreams

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