THE LOST SQUARE. London, New York and Melbourne: Ward Lock and Co. Limited, . Octavo, pp. [1-4] 5  7-264 [265-272: ads], eight inserted plates with illustrations by Adolf Thiede, original pictorial bevel-edged blue cloth, front and spine panels stamped in gold, fore-edge untrimmed. First edition. Episodic crime novel that begins in February 1898, featuring the narrator, Rupert Phenays, a young English man of leisure "of an old family," who loses his fortune and, due to his skill solving puzzles and cyphers, becomes a professional cryptographer for the British government and "several large commercial companies." By coincidence Phenays becomes the target of Mademoiselle Delacourt, a chemist, criminal mastermind and French secret agent, as well as a cold-blooded killer, who does her best to kill him. After two attempts on his life, Phenays seeks the help of the British Consul in Lisbon and is directed to José da Fondeca Pinheiro, a skillful Portuguese detective, crippled by Mademoiselle Delacourt, who seeks to hunt her down and "rid Europe of a pestilential and powerful malefactor." Ultimately Mademoiselle Delacourt is caught and jailed. Much of the action involves the use of chemistry. Hubin (1994), p. 566. Not in Glover and Greene, Victorian Detective Fiction. Early owner's signature dated June 1902 on the front free endpaper. Cloth worn at spine ends and lower corner tips, inner front hinge cracked, a good copy with bright cover stamping. OCLC records 3 copies, two in the UK and one at Duke. COPAC reports two more copies, both in the UK. A scarce book. (#164419).
No statement of printing.