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Le Roi Babar - Jean de Brunhoff

1933 - Editions du Jardin des Modes, 11 rue St. Florentin à Paris - First Edition
A lovely clean copy of the first edition, and third book in the wonderful Babar series, with text in French.

‘The inspiration for Babar came from Madame de Brunhoff, Jean’s wife, who told stories about a little elephant to amuse her young children. Their enthusiasm for the tales encouraged their artist father to shape them into illustrated books.’ (Silvey)

Le Roi Babar depicts the peaceful idyllic world of Celesteville that, when threatened by ignorance, discouragement, cowardice, and fear, rises up to welcome hope, patience, learning, and courage. Zephir, the monkey, proudly closes the tale carrying a banner that proclaims, simply, "Vive Le Bonheur". 
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Price HK$ 4,500



The Thirty-Nine Steps - John Buchan

1915 - William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh and London - First Edition
Penned in the early months of the first world war, while Buchan was writing for the War Propaganda Bureau and as a correspondent for The Times in France. Described as ‘the perfect thriller’, The Thirty-Nine Steps introduced the world to spy-catcher Richard Hannay, who was based on a friend of Buchan’s from his days serving in South Africa - Edmund Ironside.

The Thirty-Nine Steps clearly struck deep chords with the reading public of a Europe riven by war, because it sold twenty-five thousand copies in less time than it takes to fill a pipe whilst on the run across the Scottish highlands pursued by dastardly agents of a foreign power. Richard Hannay was, quite simply, everything that Britons should be and a personification at the time of everything they very much needed to be.

The neat card signed by John Buchan is an added bonus included with this nice example of the first edition with little of the usual toning caused by the cheap paper stock. Housed in custom clamshell case, navy morocco leather over matching cloth, spine lettered in gilt, felt lined.
 
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Price HK$ 13,000



A Complete History of the most Remarkable Transactions at Sea - Josiah Burchett, Esq; Secretary of the Admiralty.

1720 - Printed by W.B. for J. Walthoe, London - First Edition
'This volume is particularly important in the literature of naval history, not only as a narrative of naval operations in the Nine Years' War and the War of the Spanish Succession, but as the first general naval history written in the English language.' [ODNB]

A stunning large folio, in contemporary binding, illustrated with nine folding naval charts by Hermann Moll, engraved allegorical frontispiece, engraved portrait, the royal privilege leaf (sometimes missing), engraved head and tail-pieces and initial letters, and title page printed in red and black.
 
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Price HK$ 19,000



The Lost Get-Back Boogie - James Lee Burke

1986 - Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge - First Edition, first printing in Glossy Jacket
Rejected a total of 111 times over a period of nine years before the LSU finally agreed to publish it. During this time Burke was not able to get any other novel published and apparently this many rejections is still still a publishing industry record. It was subsequently nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

The Lost Get-Back Boogie is the story of Iry Paret, a young blues musician who moves to Montana following his release from a Louisiana prison and becomes involved in a family's struggle against a company that is polluting the local river, and with the estranged wife of his best friend. 
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Price HK$ 3,000



Limehouse Nights. Tales of Chinatown - Signed by ‘Barnaby Ross’ and ‘Ellery Queen’ - Thomas Burke

1916 - Grant Richards, London - First Edition, First Issue
A superb copy of this collection of short stories, with fine provenance, not only signed by ‘Barnaby Ross’ and ‘Ellery Queen’, but described by them in Queen’s Quorum as a work of high literary art’, ‘the tales of subtle murder and Oriental passion’, which ‘became a classic overnight.’ Housed in a custom made leather slipcase and cloth chemise.

‘A London native, Burke knew the city intimately and brought it to life in essays, mood pieces, and short stories, most of which had a melodramatic atmosphere of crime. His first and best crime book was
Limehouse Nights (1916), a series of violent tales that rely on authentic background and Oriental flavour for their readability. Subtle passion and sinister murders abound.’ – Stenbrunner & Penzler.

Burke’s best friend ‘was the original model for the character of Quong Lee, the Chinatown philosopher in
Limehouse Nights... Several years later, when his aged friend was deported for having operated an opium den, Burke was inspired to write the first of his collection of short stores about Limehouse. To Burke, whose literary credo was “to tell a story as ably as Ambrose Bierce and to see and write as clearly as Stephen Crane,” Limehouse Nights was “admittedly violent stuff written hastily,” as a means of “simply telling tales”. But it firmly established his literary reputation in Britain, and the film adaptation of the first tale in the collection under the title Broken Blossoms extended the boundaries of his reputation internationally.’ – Reilly 
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Price HK$ 18,000



High Sierra - W. R. Burnett

1940 - Alfred A Knopf, New York. London - First Edition in First State Dust Jacket
‘In the darkness, in a vivid flash, he saw old Barmy’s thin wise face. Dead and buried now, poor guy! What was it he’d said about being buried? Yeah. Barmy said when they planted him he’d be wearing ‘the turning globe’ for an overcoat. Now, who’d think of a thing like that but him? It made you see the little earth lost in space, turning slowly through the night.’

‘In
High Sierra, Burnett, one of the most influential of the ‘Hard-Boiled’ crime writers, changed the typical characterisation of the gangster story from the aggressive, ambitious figure characterisation of the 1930’s to the ageing Roy Earle, a gangster well past his prime. A sense of fatalism pervades the story, and Burnett and John Huston scripted a film version for Warner Bros, which was released in 1941 with Humphrey Bogart as Earle.’ – Encyclopedia of Film Noir.

Housed in custom cloth slipcase.
 
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Price HK$ 8,000



The Urban Trilogy – The Asphalt Jungle, Little Men Big World, Vanity Row - W. R. Burnett

1949 - Alfred A. Knopf, New York - First Editions
‘Burnett paints an unforgettable panoramic picture of the metropolitan night-world as he unfolds the story of a relentless, big-scale manhunt, filled with suspense that does not let up until the very end - peopled by characters who are credible human beings - neither monuments of virtue nor monsters of vice...’

A stunning collection of these 1940’s gangster novels, beginning with the legendary ‘Asphalt Jungle’. Written by one of the most influential authors in screenwriting history. As one of the first writers to utilise the ‘antihero’ type while exploring the underbelly of the Mafiosi, Burnett unleashed an obsession with gangsters upon Hollywood from which it still has not recovered.
 
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Price HK$ 4,500



Household Tales and Traditions of England, Germany, France, Scotland, &c. &c. - James Burns

Circa 1845 - Edward Lumley, London - First Edition, and First English Edition of Little Red Riding Hood
Rare and only edition of this collection of 52 fairy tales, which contains the first English translation of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ by the Brothers Grimm (Sutton, Little Red Riding Hood, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, 1994 (83).

The bulk of the tales are from the Brothers Grimm, and are enhanced by in-text illustrations and vignettes.

Part of the Burns Fireside Library Series. No further editions seem to have been published. Date of publication based upon its announcement in
The Spectator magazine of December 1845, and the references, listed in more detail below. 
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Price HK$ 6,000



 
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