1st printing, 1962; Berkley #F666 (coincidence?).
"The Lovely House" by Shirley Jackson
This, with its Richard Powers cover painting (the greenish version of the presentation was less common than the more violet, though not rare; mine is a copy of the violet), was the first anthology of horror fiction aimed at adults (and adventurous young readers) I purchased, when I was eight, and was thus introduced to Henry James, Algernon Blackwood, Richard Middleton, Oliver Onions, Andre Maurois, and Shirley Jackson...it was Bierce and Saki and probably Benson (though this might've been my introduction to his work, as well) that sold me on it, and I was not disappointed...I thought James took his time in telling his story, but that was fine, and "Running Wolf" among the stories by writers new to me really actually raised the hairs on the back of my neck, particularly in the middle passage of the story (something I was unused to at the time, since most horror fiction I'd read to that point built blatantly or slyly toward a frisson at the end), and in an anticipation of my current state of incipient Alzheimer's I've usually managed to forget Blackwood's title when trying to recall this story, and assumed incorrectly that I was thinking of "The Willows"...Cantor, a staff editor at Berkley at time of publication, is barely credited with this selection, in small type on the copyrights page, and its notable that he did select not quite the most obvious chestnuts from the writers in question, for the most part, but instead the next or one of the several next stories that one might read or certainly be amenable to reading after "The Lottery" or "Gabriel-Ernest" (or "The Interlopers" among so many) or "The Middle Toe of the Right Foot" (among so many) or "The Wendigo" (among...) or "The Beckoning Fair One" or "The Turn of the Screw"...which is probably why this modest, well-turned book sold so steadily that Berkley kept it in print for at least fifteen years and I'm not sure how many reprintings. It was hard to miss, for a while, and I'm eminently glad I didn't miss it.
[As I noted in May 2008, but went little farther:]
This certainly wasn't the first "Hitchcock" anthology that I read, but it is the first that I owned a personal copy of, a Doubleday Book Club edition. How could any young reader (I was 11 at the time) manage to not have their doors blown off by a selection such as this:
Random House, 1975, USA.
"Royal Jelly" by Roald Dahl
"Hijack" by Robert L. Fish
"Tomorrow and Tomorrow" by Adobe James
"Funeral in Another Town" by Jerry Jacobson
"A Case for Quiet" by William Jeffrey (Bill Pronzini and Jeffrey Wallman)
"A Good Head for Murder" by Charles W. Runyon
"The Invisible Cat" by Betty Ren Wright
"Light Verse" by Issac Asimov
"The Distributor" by Richard Matheson
"How Henry J. Littlefinger Licked the Hippies' Scheme to Take Over the Country by Tossing Pot in Postage Stamp Glue" by John Keefauver
"The Leak" by Jacques Futrelle
"All the Sounds of Fear" by Harlan Ellison
"Little Foxes Sleep Warm" by Waldo Carlton Wright
"The Graft is Green" by Harold Q. Masur
"View by Moonlight" by Pat McGerr
"There Hangs Death!" by John D MacDonald
"Lincoln's Doctor's Son's Dog" by Warner Law
"Coyote Street" by Gary Brandner
"Zombique" by Joseph Payne Brennan
"The Pattern" by Bill Pronzini
"Pipe Dream" by Alan Dean Foster
"Shottle Bop" by Theodore Sturgeon
"The Magnum" by Jack Ritchie
"Voices in the Dust" by Gerald Kersh
"The Odor of Melting" by Edward D. Hoch
"The Sound of Murder" by William P. McGivern
"The Income Tax Mystery" by Michael Gilbert
"Watch for It" by Joseph N. (aka Joe) Gores
"The Affair of the Twisted Scarf" by Rex Stout
The eclecticism which Robert Arthur particularly had brought to his volumes of the "Hitchcock" anthologies he edited, both in the young readers' line for Viking and the adult-oriented series for Random House (which were paperbacked by Dell, who split the RH compliations into two volumes for their purposes, while Dell also published the "best-of" volumes from Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine in the same years, inspiring much confusion which others and I have addressed repeatedly on this blog and many other places) was ably continued by Masur, after Arthur's death...and Masur even added a few recurring contributors, such as gallows humorist John Keefauver and "Adobe James" with his slightly perfervid men's-magazine tales, to the band of Arthur's recurring favorites (Gerald Kersh, Rex Stout, and other worthies). This volume, I see in retrospect, is slimmer on women's contributions than at least some of Arthur's, but it does include at least three stories which genuinely stuck with me and really shook me up at the time, in the Sturgeon (not the first time I'd read his brilliant early work, but the first time I'd encountered "Shottle Bop," which goes from cocksure whimsy to jarring, touching sobriety masterfully), Joe Gores's "Watch for It" and Richard Matheson's "The Distributor" (I'm not sure I've read a better Matheson), and a number of the others came close to making such a strong impression...the closest to a bad story was Alan Dean Foster's pleasantly slick contribution, or the similar "James"--and the Jacobson, published in the last issue of the first Weird Tales revival, is a little too recursively about the predicament that magazine itself faced ...and this volume introduced me to a number of its contributors, since it was at latest the second of the AHP: adult volumes I read, at time of purchase; I'd picked up the likes of Alfred Hitchcock's Haunted Houseful (one of Arthur's double-handful of YA anthologies) and at least one other Presents: volume previously at the Enfield Central Library, that trove of my youth.
Along with Henry Mazzeo's Hauntings, and the extent to which Les Daniels's Living in Fear was an anthology (the fiction there being almost illustrative examples to the critical/historical survey of horror in art), these were probably the most influential anthologies aimed at adults that I encountered in my early reading.
For more of this week's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog (though her machine is giving her difficulties).