A FATAL AFFINITY A WEIRD STORY by Stuart Cumberland [pseudonym]. London: Spencer Blackett (Successor to J. & R. Maxwell) Milton House, 35, St. Bride Street, E.C., 1889. Octavo, pp. [1-7] 8-160, original pictorial green cloth, front panel stamped in black and gold, spine and rear panels stamped in black. First edition. A presentation copy with signed inscription dated 30 April 1889 by Garner signed "Stuart C. Cumberland" on the front free endpaper. A shilling shocker published in both cloth (priced 1/6) and in paper wrappers (priced 1/-). "Out of the Whitechapel horrors and the 'astral body' of the Theosophists, Mr. Stuart Cumberland has constructed a sensational story which is not altogether without merit. The descriptions of the nine murders with which the book opens defeats the writer's object, however, and the accumulations of atrocities become simply hideous. The brotherhoods of Light and Darkness, the 'affinity' business and the assemblage of fiends in the ruined temple of Travancore, all belong to that category of fiction which, if vulgarly, is at least conveniently described as 'rot.' On the other hand, the attempt to commit the tenth murder, and the appearance of the intangible astral body of the assassin, who wields a material dagger, are powerfully described; and there is a fine touch of mystic tragedy in the doom of the murderer, who, though he commits suicide in India, is found dead in London" (THE GLASGOW HERALD, 4 April 1889). The novel was published in the U.S. as MARKED FOR A VICTIM: A TALE OF MODERN BLACK MAGIC (New York: J. S. Ogilvie, 1889). Locke, A Spectrum of Fantasy, p. 62 and A Spectrum of Fantasy Volume Two, p. 136. Reginald 03683. Not in Bleiler (1948; 1978). Hubin (1994), p. 206. University of Kansas Libraries stamp on top and bottom edges of pages and book number 030130 stamped on the front free endpaper. A very good copy. Scarce. (#170872).
No statement of printing.