New York: Harper & Brothers, 1922. Hatherell, W. First Edition. Hardcover. First US edition, first printing, duodecimo size, 373 pp. Near fine / good +. Item #19113002
Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was a major writer of novels, poetry, and Christian apologetics; he is perhaps best known for his series of detective stories featuring the priest-detective Father Brown, and for such apologetics as "Orthodoxy" and "The Everlasting Man". A forceful and prolific writer, Chesterton's works feature his masterful grasp of language and wit, as well as his strong Christian faith, and he was an influence on noted writers such as C. S. Lewis, Jorge Luis Borges, and Neil Gaiman.
This work of classic British mystery recounts the adventures of "Horne Fisher, the man who knew too much, and his trusted friend Harold March. Although Horne's keen mind and powerful deductive gifts make him a natural sleuth, his inquiries have a way of developing moral complications. Notable for their wit and sense of wonder, these tales offer an evocative portrait of upper-crust society in pre-World War I England" (n.b., from the web site of Goodreads). As the publisher's printed on the spine of the dust jacket, "Tales of a detective who always found but never convicted the criminal"...which leaves one simply begging to read the stories to answer the question....why?
Per the bibliography, the US edition omits the last three stories in the British edition and restores the title of "The Fool of the Family" to "The Temple of Silence"; the stories were collected from "Cassell's Magazine" and the "Storyteller". An interesting side note is that, although the title of this book was later used by Alfred Hitchcock for two films (the first produced in 1934, the second in 1956) the films are not based upon Chesterton's tales in any way.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in full red cloth, olive green lettering and small illustration on the front board, olive green lettering on the spine, publisher's device in olive green on the back board, frontispiece illustration by W. Hatherell (note that although the title page states "illustrations by" (plural) in fact the only illustration in the book is the frontis); duodecimo size (7.5" by 5"), pagination: [i-viii], 1-365. In the publisher's dust jacket, tan with dark brown lettering, with a small illustration of a bust of Chesterton inset on the front panel.
___CONDITION: Volume is near fine, with clean boards, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, and entirely free of prior owner markings; the lower back corner bumped, both bottom corners with a minimum of rubbing, tail of the spine bumped and again with minimal rubbing, a few small light spots of soil to the fore-edge of the text block, and some offsetting to the free endpapers from the dust jacket. The dust jacket has been price-clipped, has light overall soiling, the spine somewhat sunned, some rubbing with slight loss to the head and tail of the spine (not affecting any text), very small areas of loss where the panels meet the flaps, and two short closed tears at the head of the spine where the spine meets the panels. Overall a better than very good copy.
___CITATION: Sullivan no. 55.
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