Item #5097 THE SINGING BONE. R. Austin Freeman.


New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1923. First American Edition. A well-preserved copy of Freeman's fifth Dr. Thorndyke book, first published in 1912 by Hodder & Stoughton. "The Singing Bone consists of five novelettes, averaging a bit over fifty pages each: "The Case of Oscar Brodski," "A Case of Premeditation," "The Echo of Mutiny," "A Wastrel's Romance," and "The Old Lag." Though the final story is fairly routine, Freeman broke new ground with the first four and invented the "inverted" detective story. Each tale is told in two parts of about equal length. In part one, "The Mechanism of Crime," as it is subtitled in the first story, we actually see the crime committed and are furnished with all the facts that could be used in solving it. In part two, "The Mechanism of Detection," we follow Dr. Thorndyke as he investigates the crime, finds the clues, and finally solves it. Although the classic question "Whodunit?" is necessarily absent for the reader, there is a challenge of a sort to match wits with the detective and spot the clues in advance" (Pronzini & Muller, p.273). Both the English and American editions are rare in dustjacket, with the former, I imagine, more or less unobtainable; we find no jacketed copies of either edition in the auction record. A Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone and Queen's Quorum title. Donaldson 7b; Hubin, p.153. Item #5097

First Printing. Octavo (19.25cm); tan cloth, with titles stamped in orange, and publisher's decorative emblem embossed onto front cover; dustjacket; xii,256,[4]pp. Small, stray marker stripe and a tiny abrasion to front endpaper, a few faint spots to right margin of p.3, else a clean, Near Fine copy. Dustjacket is unclipped (priced $1.75), edgeworn and slightly dusty, a few unobtrusive nicks and shallow losses, with several tears and attendant creases; 11 adhesive marks from cello-tape on verso (skillfully removed at some early date), contemporary pencil name at upper rear panel; a Very Good, unrestored example.

Price: $1,750.00

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