Your Daily NEL: New English Library

Cheap and Nasty Seventies Horror Pulp

Peter Leslie – The Fakers

Posted by demonik on May 20, 2009

Peter Leslie – The Fakers (NEL, Feb. 1971)


Onstage, a chorus of plastic-clad models bursts out of a huge Easter egg and brings delirious delight to the audience. Backstage, a lovely young actress swings with a broken neck at the end of a rope.

Something is happening at the Adonis theatre, and only a master of impersonation and deception could know what it is. Somebody like a criminal, for example. Crime and the theatre are both involved in fakery, in hypnotising the observer, and that evening at the Adonis is the beginning of an audacious plot to keep a fortune in stolen jewels from the eyes of the police.

Peter Leslie, author of The Extremists, introduces a new and thrilling element into the bizarre world of a Repertory Company on tour. Rarely has the reader been treated to such a mixture of chills and high camp.

Barry Vine, insurance investigator, clearly fancies himself as the James Bond of his profession in this bizarre crime caper. In between bonking sessions with rich, beautiful and feisty young actress Oona Blake, he infiltrates the gang behind a series of audacious jewellery thefts. Vine soon discovers that Genius Barking and his misogynist gay hairdressers have teamed up with a crime syndicate based behind the Iron Curtain – but who is Mr. Big?

There are at least two horror sequences, well realised and thoroughly incongruous in such a light-hearted romp. The highly theatrical hanging of the unfortunate actress and the protracted torture-by-electrical-appliances of Vine’s valet. Oona is then abducted, strapped into a chair with a huge hairdryer covering her head which has been wrapped in tape (these people have their gagging down to a fine art).

“Isn’t it camp?” Barking said. “Look! Through the glass doors you can see buses, taxi’s, shoppers passing. And if they looked in they could probably see us. But what they can’t see are the things we’re going to do to you: as far as they’re concerned you’re just a late customer with three assistants grouped around her …. Fancy torturing somebody in full view of the street!” He broke into a shrill chuckle.

Barking is a man who enjoys his work way too much.

The Fakers thread on Vault Of Evil

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: