Illustrated by H.M. Brock. London: Greening & Co., 1909. Original blue-grey cloth pictorially decorated in red, black and peach.
First Edition of this loosely-connected collection of murder mysteries. The unnamed old man in the corner was the world's first "armchair detective," precursor to Nero Wolfe, who solved mysteries without ever leaving his corner. Included are eight illustrations by Brock, almost all of them showing the discovery of a body. The final case in the book reveals that the old man
had more than a mere passing interest in at least some of the murder cases he solved so convincingly. Whenever there was a dearth of crime, he made sure that there were sufficient ingenious and carefully contrived deaths to keep his mental faculties engaged... [Quayle]
During the Edwardian era, the Hungarian Baroness Orczy was by far the most important female detective fiction writer in England; she is today best known for her "Scarlet Pimpernel" tales.
This copy is very good-plus, perhaps near-fine (minor rubbing at the extremities, a few very light cover marks). Queen's Quorum #41 ("one of the truly conspicuous contributions to detective literature"); Quayle (DETECTIVE) pp 96-98. Item #14517