DARK DAYS. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1884. Small octavo, pp. pp. [1-8]  2-275 [276: blank], flyleaves at front and rear, original decorated mustard cloth, front and rear panels stamped in black, spine panel stamped in black and gold, printed endpapers. First U.S. edition. John Frederick Fargus "Hugh Conway" (1847-1885), Bristol-born British accountant and auctioneer, wrote songs for the stage and short stories with some local success. The leading Bristol publisher J. W. Arrowsmith encouraged his literary work. In 1881 his first short story, "The Secret of the Stradivarius," was accepted by the prestigious BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE. 1883 his crime thriller, CALLED BACK, was published in ARROWSMITH'S CHRISTMAS ANNUAL FOR 1883. It was an unexpected runaway bestseller. It was promptly translated into six European languages and a dramatized version of the story ran for almost 200 nights in London in 1884. In book form this shilling shocker sold over 350,000 copies within four years. In 1884 Fargus published another thriller, DARK DAYS, in ARROWSMITH'S CHRISTMAS ANNUAL FOR 1884. This sensational crime novel was also a best seller. On the French Rivera for his health, Fargus caught typhoid fever and died,15 May 1885, just a few years after his meteoric rise to success as an author of popular fiction. His CALLED BACK (1883) set the pattern for the Victorian shilling shocker crime novels of the 1880s and 1890s, the most popular being Furgus Hume's THE MYSTERY OF A HANSOM CAB (1886) and the best known being Robert Louis Stevenson's STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE.(1886). Andrew Lang wrote a long parody of DARK DAYS called MUCH DARKER DAYS which was published by Longmans, Green & Co. in 1884 under the pseudonym "A. Huge Longway." Lawrence Solomon Library label affixed to the verso of the front flyleaf. Cloth lightly rubbed at spine ends and corner tips, small red wax seal on front free endpaper, an attractive, nearly fine copy. A very nice copy. (#156906).
No statement of printing.