THE FLYING BO'SUN: A MYSTERY OF THE SEA. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1920. Octavo, pp. [1-12] [1-2] 3-241 [242-244: blank], original blue-green cloth, front cover stamped in gold and blind, spine panel stamped in gold. First edition, first printing. "Narrated by the first mate, THE FLYING BO’SUN recounts the voyage of the Wampa, a schooner that sails from Puget Sound to the Fiji Islands with a load of lumber in December of 1898. The novel consists of descriptions of life at sea, conflicts among the crew, and various adventures once the ship makes landfall. The “flying bo’sun” of the title is a snow-white tropical bird whom sailors believe to be the embodiment of the souls of drowned sailors. Because the bird typically flies at high altitudes, its presence on a ship is regarded as a harbinger of death. When the captain of the ship dies suddenly from septicemia, his ghost haunts the ship until the first mate discovers the captain’s last will and testament, which includes written instructions about the dispersal of his property to his two sons. These chapters of the novel, which are set at Christmas time on the high seas, constitute a nautical variation of the traditional holiday ghost story. The supernatural also plays a key role upon the Wampa’s return voyage to the United States when a hurricane threatens to destroy the ship and drown the crew. The captain’s ghost reappears and possesses a Hindoo stowaway who unknowingly seems capable of astral projection. Possessed by the dead captain, the Hindoo steers the ship to safety after several of the crew have perished. The striking dust jacket art depicts this scene. A well-written but slight novel that suffers from being episodic rather than having a central plot." - Boyd White. Smith, American Fiction, 1901-1925 M-560. Bleiler (1978), p. 135. Reginald 09746. A fine copy in very good three-color pictorial dust jacket (illustration by C. A. Federer) with light wear at edges, shallow chip and 18 mm closed at top edge of rear panel and dusty spine panel. A lovely copy. (#159465).
No statement of printing.