AGAR HALFI THE MYSTIC. London: William Rider & Son, Limited, 1915. Octavo, pp. [1-2] [i-iv] v-vi [1] 2-317 [318: blank] [note: first leaf is a blank], original blue cloth, front and spine panels stamped in black. First edition. "AGAR HALFI, THE MYSTIC opens with a marvelous prologue in which Hugo Brentwood, an occult researcher, and Agar Halfi, a Hindoo mystic, are nearly killed investigating a series of uncanny violent deaths in a mountain range in Afghanistan near the Persian border. These deaths are caused by a demon in the form of a roc, a mythological giant bird of prey, summoned centuries ago by a cunning sorceress to defeat a rival wizard with whom she ended up tragically falling in love. Five years later in the small seaside town of Worlstoke where Brentwood and Halfi now reside, Henry Thornton, the vicar, and Elsie Hobson, a young bride-to-be, have vanished without a trace several weeks apart. Their disappearances center around the ruins of a priory where Thornton’s body is eventually discovered beneath the chapel near the footprints of a seemingly gigantic bird. While AGAR HALFI, THE MYSTIC is a routine occult romance of the period, the novel is distinguished by a cast of wonderfully eccentric characters and some very fine scenes of supernatural terror involving encounters with the Persian demon that has clearly made its way to England. Philip Alletson, the current vicar, has dabbled in the occult, and Constance, his sister, is a gifted medium. Herbert Canning, a private detective formerly of Scotland Yard, is an amateur astrologist with a knack for disguise. Such characters, of course, are predisposed not to dismiss the possibility of supernatural shenanigans at play in West England. Best of all is the relationship between Halfi, a finely drawn character, and Hector, his large bull-mastiff whom he constantly berates with choice epithets such as 'son of a thief' and 'o soulless one.' While the ending of AGAR HALFI, THE MYSTIC deteriorates into a clichéd illustration of how souls must endure cycles of suffering until they achieve full consciousness and escape the earthly plane, the novel’s conclusion does feature several unexpected twists, and Filkin, for the most part, does not allow his plot to get bogged down in endless passages of mystical drivel that so often characterize occult novels of this period." - Boyd White. Bleiler (1978), p. 73. Reginald 05407. Bookplate affixed to front paste-down. Cloth lightly worn at spine ends and corner tips, light rubbing along outer joints, small 1967 Christmas stamp affixed to rear paste-down, a very good copy. (#165788).

Price: $250.00

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