CRAWFURD, OSWALD. - The Mystery of Myrtle Cottage.
London, Hodder & Stoughton 1908. Octavo publisher's decorated cloth blocked in black and gilt (somewhat rubbed). Inner hinges cracked. A second hand copy. ¶ Warwick Colonial Library; published by Chapman & Hall in the same year, these are probably the first edition sheets of this rare feminist comedy of gender and sex - a thriller of sorts. Two young women go into London Bohemian society - polite and milquetoast as it is - as two young men, determined to win the laurels in art and letters that would be denied them as women. Perhaps the most curious thing about this book is Crawfurd's age - by this time he was in his seventies, he died the next year. The scathing contempt for socialism that erupts throughout the book may be characteristic of a crusty ex-diplomat but the rest occasionally verges on the racy. Crawfurd's DNB entry is hardly enthusiastic: a competent if unenergetic diplomat, a minor writer and a publisher out of his depth as director of Chapman & Hall. Unsurprising for a colonial edition, I found two colonial notices; one each for Australia and New Zealand ("absurd" and "preposterous" respectively) but the book has vanished since then. The usual library searches find four copies - presumably the domestic edition - in the British deposit libraries and one unexpected copy in Switzerland.AUD 60.00 [Appr.: EURO 42.5 US$ 45.85 | £UK 37 | JP¥ 5096] Book number 9180
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