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201 items found:

KERNAHAN, Coulson. Captain Shannon. London, Ward Lock 1897. Octavo publisher's near black cloth titled in red; 16 plates by F.S. Wilson. Inner front hinge cracked by insertions but solid. A rather good copy. The insertions are a signed cabinet photo of Kernahan (top gone from this); a signed card with an aphorism and a one page letter from Kernahan. Au$300

First edition of this thriller, one of Kernahan's more successful. Captain Shannon was what is now called an Irish terrorist.


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ROBERTS, Morley. The Adventure of the Broad Arrow. An Australian romance. London, Hutchinson 1897. Octavo publisher's cloth (cover marked); eight plates by A.D. McCormick. A few spots and minor signs of use; a pretty good copy. Au$450

First edition, colonial issue, of one of the more famous west Australian lost race novels - though lost race is stretching it a bit. The white tribe here is descended from escaped convicts. But they are swimming in gold and there were pygmy cave dwellers.


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SWIFT, Benjamin [ie William Romaine Paterson]. The Tormentor. London, Fisher Unwin 1897. Octavo publisher's cloth. A rather good copy. Au$125

First edition of this mildly disappointing tragic thriller. Disappointing for fans of traditional crime thrillers fooled by the title and chapter headings. But we are given poison and death and any book that received reviews like, "Its story is unwholesome and its style deplorable. One hates to receive such a book for review, for it is filled with darkness, meanness and crime," can't be without value.


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LAW, Frederick Houk. The Heart of Sindhra. A novel. NY, Tennyson Neely [1898]. Octavo publisher's blue cloth blocked in silver and red (spine a touch rubbed). A rather good copy. Au$200

First edition of this India set fantasy with a lost city, native fanaticism and some mightily portentous dialogue.


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FARJEON, B.L. [Benjamin Leopold]. Grif. A story of Australian Life. Seventeenth edition. London, Hutchinson 1898. Octavo publisher's cloth, spine decorated in gilt. A little browning at the very ends, quite a nice copy. Inscribed and signed by Farjeon with an accompanying letter. Au$350

A gift from Farjeon to Mrs Granville Ellis in 1901. The short letter on Farjeon's letterhead explains that it isn't always easy to find spare copies of his books but he is sending three, including this one, and Harry - Farjeon's composer son - is sending along some sheet music just published. Mrs Ellis must be the American born journalist, Anna May (or Mai?) Bosler, who married Granville Ellis twice and wrote under the name Max Eliot. Elizabeth Pennell described her as "that awful American newspaper woman ... a vile specimen! Vulgar!" Gifted copies of Farjeon's books have a longer history than Farjeon himself. Decades later Harry used his father's own copies as school prizes.


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JUNOR, Charles. Dead Men's Tales. Melbourne, George Robertson 1898. Octavo publisher's colour illustrated boards (edges worn). Last leaf, a blank before the endpaper, removed, natural browning of the paper, inner hinges cracked but firm enough; certainly read but still quite a good copy. Au$1200

First edition, Australian issue; the same sheets were issued by Swan Sonnenschein. A most busy collection of tales with, within very few pages, cannibals, a ghoul in the waterhole, a vampiric leper, a death adder, a husband cuckolded by his unsuspecting companion (puzzling huh?), and a fatal curse laid on the discoverer of the remains of the two protaganists (see cover).
On to the second story - and we have photographic safeguards over a bank vault and an hypnotic burglar. Soon we are in the realm of hereditary catalepsy leading to premature burial; horrors in the tomb; a murderous husband who takes a razor to himself to prevent his dead wife meeting her suitor in the hereafter; the inadvisability of women lion tamers; Queen Victoria astral travelling to Melbourne; an Afghani ghost attending a picnic; a machine that will "read the last thoughts of a dead man's brain" ... but I give too much away.
An early reader has, in a tiny neat hand, deemed a trip between the Victorian and the Queensland borders in 24 hours as absurd. The rest passes without comment. The Australian Town and Country Journal's review probably sums up the book best: "irredemiably gruesome ... ghastly in their grim and merciless realism and ... so improbable that one is tempted to resort to the White Queen's recipe for believing impossible thlngs".
Here's an easy to believe lesson for us all from Junor: "The sudden shock to my system, caused by total abstinence, effected so seriously a decline in my physical health that my mental faculties seemed unstrung, and my intellect dislocated".


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NEWCOMB, Josiah Turner. A Fight for a Throne. NY, Tennyson Neely [1898]. Octavo publisher's red cloth blocked in white and black (spine a bit darkened and rubbed). Inscribed and signed by Newcomb in December 1898. Au$400

Only edition of this scarce Pacific thriller; part lost race and part Ruritanian romance in which the exiled king and his glorious daughter must be restored to their south seas kingdom and our hero must atone for his father's crime. We won't question how the hero came across the heroine by chance on a remote Long Island beach just before his father drops dead leaving his confession of the crime that killed the queen and sent the king and baby daughter into exile in New York. Like the actual result of the self-immolating - presumably sardonic - remark of Holmes, once we have eliminated the impossible there is nothing left.
Newcomb was a New York newspaper editor at the time he wrote this, later he turned lawyer and politician; this seems to be his only book.


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GRIFFITH, George. The Gold-Finder. London F.V. White 1898. Octavo publisher's illustrated green cloth (a bit used, spine wrinkled); frontispiece. An ok copy. Au$75

First edition of this thriller involving the Gold Magnet, high speed yachts, merciless modern piracy and tangled family secrets.


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HUME, Fergus. The Rainbow Feather. NY, Dillingham 1898. Octavo publisher's decorated cloth. A very good copy. There is a small triangular bump in the cloth on the front cover which puzzled me until I realised it was a patch applied to the inside of the cloth before binding - they weren't going to waste a foot of cloth because of a small flaw in the material. Au$165

First American edition contemporaneous with the London edition. An incredibly convoluted, even for Hume, murder mystery which begins with a cackling gipsy foretelling murder for a gorgeous but unpleasant young woman and misery for her equally gorgeous and unpleasant suitor. There is of course a twist. "And the remarkable result is that out of the thirteen active personages in 'The Rainbow Feather' ten are proved to have been present at the murder. It is pressing the credulous reader rather far, this transforming a quiet scene of assassination into a large social function." (Munsey's Magazine).


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SCOTT, G. Firth. The Last Lemurian. A Westralian romance. London, Bowden 1898. Octavo publisher's illustrated blocked in colour; three plates by Stanley L. Wood. Small flaws: inner back hinge cracked but firm; edges spotted and a scattering inside here and there. A rather good bright copy. Au$850

First edition of this west Australian lost race thriller. Who can divine the springs of chance and fate? If our disgruntled hero hadn't set off west at that moment he wouldn't have met the tall bushman and if the bushman hadn't learnt some black jabber he wouldn't have heard the story of the country ruled by a giant yellow woman where boulders of gold lie about the place. An author can divine these springs and a good author doesn't carry on about it but gets on with the story.


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MARSH, Richard. The Datchet Diamonds. London, Ward Lock [1898]. Octavo publisher's maroon cloth; two plates by Stanley L. Wood. Some pages opened coarsely and a couple of minor blotches but still a very good copy. Au$185

First edition; a detective thriller.


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BOOTHBY, Guy. Love Made Manifest. London, Ward Lock [1899]. Octavo publisher's decorated blue cloth blocked in gilt. Endpapers a bit browned as usual, a pleasing bright copy. Au$125

First edition. From Apia to Sydney to Belgrave Square our hero wins his way to fame and fortune only to find a peril worse than any of Boothby's opium addled Asiatic fiends lying in wait for him.


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HALL, Owen. [ie Hugh Hart Lusk]. Eureka. London, Chatto & Windus 1899. Octavo publisher's green decorated cloth blocked in blind. A second hand copy with something of a lean, with some browning at each end and smudges; an unmarked lending library label inside the front cover suggests no-one ever borrowed it. No other library marks; a solid decent copy. Au$2000

Only edition, probable original issue. I've seen another copy in a cheaper binding with a 32 page publisher's list that include's Hall's next book, Hernando, published in 1902. A pioneering Australian science fiction novel say some and rare say I: missed by Miller and MacCartney and Trove finds only the recently acquired NL copy. It was picked up by the Bibliography of Australian Literature which cites the British Library copy. This is a lost race thriller with enough techno-wizardry to qualify as sci-fi proper and with an ancient Greek civilisation in Western Australia.
Lusk did spend time in Australia and wrote a couple of Australian novels, along with a fair bit of social and political commentary, but perhaps belongs more to New Zealand. There he went into politics during the seventies then came to Australia in the 1890's. Did he go back to New Zealand afterwards (apparently he died in Auckland) or go on to America where he published quite a bit of stuff under his own name? He was a busy writer, a few novels and much polemic and pamphleteering - and much of that was pretty reactionary and xenophobic.


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MORETTE, Edgar. The Sturgis Wager. A detective story. NY, Stokes [1899]. Octavo publisher's decorated cloth blocked in red and black. Minor signs of use, a pretty good copy. Au$150

First edition of this fast paced New York murder mystery that opens in the chaos of Broadway traffic. Well before the end of chapter one we have our corpse and three mysteries. Another chapter, more mystery and the bet that gentleman reporter Sturgis can't solve them. Soon enough we enter the realm of scientific fantasy with the criminal genius who has disposed of hundreds of victims and dissolved their remains in his laboratory.


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HUME, Fergus. Hagar of the Pawn-Shop. NY, Buckles 1899. Octavo publisher's decorated orange cloth blocked in black, red and olive (smudged and marked). A pretty good copy of a book that didn't wear well. Au$185

First American edition, the London edition is dated the year before. Is Hagar the first female gipsy detective? An amateur but still canny detective, the beautiful young spitfire solves a series of mysteries, finding inheritances, murderers and finally love and freedom from the pawn shop. Books also play a significant part so perhaps this is the first female-gipsy-detective-biblio-mystery.


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SAVILE, Frank. Beyond the Great South Wall - being some surprising details of the voyage of the S.Y. Racoon. London, Sampson Low &c 1899. Octavo publisher's illustrated red cloth blocked in black, white, gilt and blue (spine a bit faded and rubbed); [6],302pp and 10pp publisher's list included in the last gathering. A bit used, browning of the endpapers and round the edges. Inscription of a Lawrence Fishburn dated 1916 and 1917 on the front endpaper with a short message written in some secret code. Pretty good; as this is the only copy I've found after some years of looking I can't compare it to others. Au$1500

First edition and close enough to rare. George Locke noted in the first volume of his Spectrum of Fantasy (1980) that he'd traded his way up to a good first American edition but not yet seen this. At the end of volume two he announced that, in 1993, he'd seen and finally got one. These original sheets were re-issued as an undated 'cheap edition' with a cancel title page and, I suspect, sat in the warehouse for decades - the only copy of that I've seen was apparently bought new and given as a prize in 1927. In other words it was a forgotten dud. How? with that cover? who could resist it? It seems to have been better received in America where it had two editions in 1901 and received a friendly notice in the NY Times.
This is an Antarctic adventure discovering a now extinct Mayan civilization and a not extinct prehistoric monster. By no means the worst lost race novel ever written; indeed it stands proud of most Antarctic novels in being brisk, breezy and easy going.


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BOOTHBY, Guy. Pharos the Egyptian. London, Ward Lock 1899. Octavo publisher's gilt decorated navy cloth; 12 plates by John H. Bacon. Endpapers browned as usual; a rather nice bright copy. Au$200

First edition of this exotic, fast moving and cosmopolitan thriller which begins in London: "Drawing my hand across my forehead, which was clammy with the sweat of real fear, I looked again at the river ... and by the light of a lantern on board I could make out the body of a man ... such was my first meeting with the man whom I afterwards came to know as Pharos the Egyptian." From here we leap around Europe to Egypt and back, with horror at every step.


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BOOTHBY, Guy. The Red Rat's Daughter. London, Ward Lock 1899. Octavo gilt cloth; 4 plates by Henry Austin. A used, decent copy. Au$30

First edition. An east-facing thriller.


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BLUM, Edgar C. In Satan's Realm. Chicago, Rand McNally 1899. Octavo publisher's illustrated red cloth blocked in green, black and white. A read copy but still quite a good copy. Inscribed by the author to a friend. Au$185

First edition. The story of a too successful journalist who begins rather than ends his greatest adventure by being eaten by a cannibal. He goes first to heaven but his 'reportorial instincts' had him quickly banished to hell.


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GRIFFITH, George. Gambles With Destiny. London, F.V. White 1899. Octavo publisher's cloth (tips a little worn). Endpapers spotted, a pretty good copy with Ronald E. Graham's Virgil Finlay bookplate. Au$185

First edition of this collection of shorter things, mostly sci-fi or fantasy - one of which introduces the countdown: 10, 9, 8 ...; another involves a Faustian bargain made with haschisch.


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CARRYL, Charles E. The River Syndicate and Other Stories. New York, Harper 1899. Octavo, very good in publisher's green illustrated cloth blocked in gilt and colours; four plates. Au$125

First edition; detective fiction and lesser thrillers. Known for his childrens' books and poetry this is apparently Carryl's only entry into the genre.


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de Rougemont, Louis. [Henri Grien]. The Adventures of Louis de Rougemont as told by himself. London, Newnes 1899. Octavo publisher's illustrated cloth; 46 illustrations, some full page. A bit of a lean but an excellent bright copy. Au$200

First edition, with the preface by the editor of World Wide, Fitzgerald. I have seen copies with this removed - embarrassment after de Rougemont was definitively proved a liar? Grien did make living as 'The Greatest Liar on Earth' for a while, and likely a better living than his apparently sad true life in Australia. Once a common book but getting hard to find in decent condition.


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DAKE, Charles Romeyn. [spelt 'Romyn' on the title page and 'Romeyn' on the cover which seems to be correct]. A Strange Discovery. NY, Kimball 1899. Octavo publisher's red cloth (spine a bit discoloured and worn at the tips); [4],310pp and three plates, one a map. Au$325

First edition of this Antarctic lost race thriller, an elaborately set up continuation of Poe's 'Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym'. It includes a photo of Loomis House in Bellevue Illinois, a focal point of the introduction to the story. Bellevue is apparently Belleville, Dake's home where he was a homeopath - as is the character Bainbridge in this book. Dake committed suicide in 1899; ostensibly because he discovered he had cancer, not because his only novel had his name misspelled on the title page.


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SMEATON, Oliphant. A Mystery of the Pacific. London, Blackie 1899. Octavo publisher's illustrated red cloth printed in black and white and blocked in gilt; eight plates by Wal Paget. Covers a touch dusty, a few spots at the beginning but a rather good, bright copy. Au$200

First edition of this Pacific lost race thriller - by the sometime editor of the Queensland Daily Northern Argus - which begins on board a blackbirder for the Queensland labour trade and ends in Nova Sicilia - a Roman offshoot in the western Pacific.


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HIND, Lewis. The Enchanted Stone. NY, Dodd Mead 1899. Octavo publisher's cloth & colour illustrated boards. Outstanding in probably the original tissue wrapper. Au$200

First American edition, which apparently differs from the English edition. I haven't found out what those differences are, I suspect few people have read both. A fantasy involving magic, mysterious orientals and suchlike. I think this is Hind's first book.


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