Stories in this issue:
- Gypsy Rose: The Doll’s Dark Secret (artist Terry Aspin)
- Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
- Sceptre of the Toltecs (artist Emilia Prieto)
- Spell of the Spinning Wheel (artist Jim Baikie; writer Alison Christie) – first episode
- The Big Cat (artist Ana Rodriguez)
- Made-Up Mandy (artist Audrey Fawley)
- Freda, False Friend (artist Phil Gascoine)
- Mark of the Witch! (artist Phil Townsend)
I dug this issue out to send the first episode of “Spell of the Spinning Wheel” to Mistyfan, but the opening story is the one that first grabs your attention: it is a really creepy Gypsy Rose story with a deadly doll, haunted by a vengeful ghost. It is very nearly responsible for turning a loving sister into a cold-blooded murderess… Terry Aspin makes sure the reader gets the creeps, as ever.
“Sceptre of the Toltecs” aims to give you the creeps, too: the sinister uncle has persuaded a jealous schoolgirl to put his talisman into Malincha’s bag so that he can acquire the sceptre and ‘crush the world underfoot!’ The protagonists are seriously threatened by Uncle Telqotl’s dark power but we are told in the strap-line for next week’s episode that though his power is strong, so is Malincha’s.
“Spell of the Spinning Wheel” gets off to a dramatic start. Rowan Lindsay is out with her dad, a shepherd, when he falls down the side of a quarry and severely injures himself: he will always walk with a limp thereafter and has no chance to make his name as a famous runner, in the way he’d hoped. He’s also lost his job as he can’t be a shepherd without being fit and able, so the family are in financial difficulties. The evil spinning wheel has not yet made its appearance, but it’s foreshadowed in the advert for next week: ‘I wouldn’t take that spinning wheel for all the tea in China, lass!’.
In “Mark of the Witch!“, Emma Fielding saves a vicious, wild horse from being shot – because it has a dark streak in its hair just like she does, and she believes they were meant for each other. But she has to set out to tame it first, which means riding bareback as long as it takes – throughout the night if need be. In the meantime her mother is worried about her and wishes she knew where she’d disappeared to; and Alice Durrant knows Emma’s whereabouts but doesn’t know how she can possibly help her.