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The Triumphs of Eugène Valmont - Robert Barr

1905 Circa - George Bell & Sons, London and Bombay - First Colonial Edition
The rare first collection of Eugène Valmont mysteries, the most successful literary French detective of his era, and the first in a long line of humorous detectives. Created not by a French writer but by a Scotsman who had grown up in Canada and returned to the UK to forge a literary career, founding the The Idler magazine together with Jerome K. Jerome in 1892.

Although Robert Barr’s
Eugène Valmont has Sherlock Holmes like qualities, he is ‘a much more tongue-in-cheek creation’. ‘The title of the book seems ironic. We see very few of his triumphs. The very first story explains why he has had to leave France to avoid becoming a laughing stock and, in the rest of the tales, he fails far more often than he succeeds. Yet none of these setbacks ever daunts him or dents his supreme self-confidence. ‘I have had my failures of course,’ he acknowledges but he remains a happy egotist. Whether dealing with a gang of anarchists in ‘The Siamese Twin of a Bomb-Thrower’ or flirting with the supernatural in ‘The Ghost with the Club-Foot’, his sense of style and his almost Poirot-like conceit never desert him.’ (Nick Rennison, from the preface to the Gaslight Crime edition).

It appears this ‘First Colonial Edition’ was published by George Bell in 1905, the year before the ‘First Edition’ of Hurst & Blackett. The adverts include are dated July 1905 and September 1905. Although it contains the same short stories, the titles and chapter headings match those of the 1906 American edition, and those of the original stories printed in in
Windsor Magazine and Pearson’s Magazine in 1904-5. 
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Price HK$ 4,500



Typical Photographs of Burma – Burmese Life and Scenes - Felice Beato

Circa 1920 - Rowe & Co. Ltd., Rangoon
A nice tourist album produced for the luxury department store Rowe & Co., containing 111 photographs, each numbered and indexed. The majority of photographs have been accredited to Felice Beato, considered one of the first war photographers and well known for his work in Burma where he had his own studio.

Rowe & Co. whose beautiful building can be seen in the second photograph, was one of the British colonial emporia or department stores in Rangoon (as was Whiteaway, Laidlaw in Calcutta, Spencer's in Madras, Cargill's in Colombo and Lane, Crawford was in Hong Kong ). Established in 1866 as a drapers and general merchants by Mr RV Rowe, the Company published a 300-page illustrated catalogue four times annually, exhibiting wares from its various departments; of course, ladies' and gentlemen's outfitters, drapery, millinery, crockery & glassware, trunks, cutlery, watches & clocks, saddlery amongst others.
 
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Price HK$ 2,900



An Historical, Physiological and Theological Treatise of Spirits, Apparitions, Witchcrafts, and other Magical Practices - Jonh (John) Beaumont, Gent.

1705 - Printed for D. Browne, London - First Edition
With engraved frontispiece by Michael Van der Gucht of ‘An Evil Genius’, ‘Two Good Genii’, and ‘Jews going out in the Moonshine to know their Fortune’.

John Beaumont, a British surgeon and geologist, ‘was a man of considerable reading, of excessive credulity, and a firm believer in supernatural agency. His principal and certainly most curious performance,
An Historical, Physiological, and Theological Treatise of Spirits, Apparitions, Witchcrafts is written in an amusing, gossiping style, and abounds with grotesque tales and illustrations from little-known authors. His personal experience of spirits, good and bad, was long and varied (pages 91-4, 393-7); but he innocently contrives to lessen the effect of his narration by adding that in their frequent visitations “all would disswade me from drinking too freely”’ - Dictionary of National Bibliography. 
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Price HK$ 17,000



Wanderings in the Great Forests of Borneo - Odoardo Beccari, F. H. H. Guillemard (editor)

1904 - Archibald Constable & Co Ltd, London - First Edition in English
An exceptionally clean and sharp copy of this important work by one of the great botanical explorers and naturalists of the nineteenth century, containing three folding maps and illustrated throughout with 61 black and white photographs, sketches and diagrams.

Odoardo Beccari (1843-1920), an orphan from Florence, studied at the universities in Pisa and Bologna, and after graduating spent a few months at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where he met Charles Darwin, William and Joseph Hooker, and James Brooke, the first Rajah of Sarawak. The latter connection lead to him spending three years from 1865 to 1868 undertaking research in Sarawak, Brunei and other islands off present-day Malaysia and New Guinea. He made a second trip to New Guinea, this time with ornithologist Luigi Maria d'Albertis, in 1872, collecting many zoological specimens, especially birds of paradise, and ethnographic materials.
 
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Price HK$ 8,500



Five Chip Hilton classics – Dugout Jinx, Fence Busters, Hardcourt Upset, No-Hitter, and Triple-Threat Trouble - Clair Bee

1952 - Grosset & Dunlap, New York - First Editions
Five first editions from the inspirational Chip HIlton sports story series, written by the successful college basketball coach and 1968 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Clair Bee.

Dugout Jinx – During the last week of that hectic baseball season, it was Chip from his position on the dugout bench who was able to solve the baffling puzzle of what had happened to the team’s pitchers and its general morale.

Fence Busters – There is a lot of wonderful baseball in this Chip Hilton story, and a lot of good sportsmanship and clean manhood besides. These friends of Chip’s have what it takes to pull a demoralized and strife-torn team out of the dumps and get it back at busting fences again.

Hardcourt Upset – When Chip Hilton, sensational scoring sophomore, is benched by a knee injury, and the basketballchampions are beaten by Tech, their home-town rivals, things take a turn for the worse.

No-Hitter – After helping State University win the N.C.A.A. baseball championship through his superb pitching, Chip Hilton had looked forward to a pleasant summer at home in Valley Falls. But when State was selected to represent the United States i a college baseball series with two of Japan’s finest teams, Chip, like his teammates, was thrilled by the opportunity.

Triple-Threat Trouble – Chip Hilton, All-America quarterback and captain of State University’s team faces one of the most challenging situations he has ever encountered on the gridiron. 
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Price HK$ 2,200



The Stork Club Bar Book - Lucius Beebe

1946 - Rinehart & Company, New York - First Edition
A famous oasis after the ravages of Prohibition, the Stork Club was the place for celebrities to see and be seen. A historical glimpse into the high life in New York City at this legendary spot, with recipes, humour, stories about the rich and famous who frequented this elegant club, and sly essays on such subjects as the mint julep and the zombie. To the rear is an alphabetical index and an index by ingredients.

Uncommon in such a nice dust jacket.

Legendary wit and bon vivant Lucius Morris Beebe (1902-1966) was born into a wealthy Boston mercantile and banking family and, flying in the face of a hopelessly proletarian 20th Century, he lived his life in the opulence and splendour of an earlier age. As an undergraduate at both Harvard and Yale, he was an outstanding student and a rake-hell of formidable accomplishment. It was his custom to appear for class Monday morning in full evening dress, wearing a monocle and carrying a gold-headed cane. He also had a roulette wheel and a fully equipped bar in his room. At the same time, he earned distinction as an undergraduate poet and won his Master’s degree with a thesis on the poetry of Edwin Arlington Robinson.
 
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Price HK$ 6,000



1954 - John Gifford Ltd., London - First Edition
A fine example, featuring Inspector Littlejohn of Scotland Yard.

The true first edition with publisher's name to title page (Book Club editions stated 'Thriller Book Club Edition' as publisher to title page instead of Gifford), and in the elusive true first issue dust jacket with 'John Gifford' to the tail of the spine (the 'Gifford' lettering is covered over for the ‘Thriller Book Club’ dust jacket which used matching illustrations, but advertised other ‘Thriller Book Club’ titles, and did not have a price on the front flap.
 
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Price HK$ 1,800



The Adventures of Augie March - Saul Bellow

1953 - The Viking Press, New York - First edition, first issue.
‘I am an American, Chicago born – Chicago, that sombre city – and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way: first to knock, first admitted.’

Saul Bellow’s masterful novel, tells the story of the eponymous Augie March, a poor Chicago boy growing up during the Great Depression, whose numberless occupations and diverting encounters offer startling extremes of vivid realism and bravura philosophising.

The Adventures of Augie March is the Great American Novel. Search no further.’ – Martin Amis. 
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Price HK$ 7,000



 
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