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The Woman In White - Wilkie Collins

1860 - Sampson Low, London - First Edition
‘The best men are not consistent in good—why should the worst men be consistent in evil?’

Elegantly bound three volume first edition of what is considered to be one of the first murder mystery titles ever written, and hailed by Margaret Oliphant as
‘a new beginning in fiction’. The Woman in White is a dazzling display of literary prowess, causing a flurry of excitement upon its publication. By the time the novel had finished its first print run, Collins was earning a yearly income of over £10,000 pounds. It features a cast of unforgettable characters, including the plain, but brilliant ‘spinster’ Marian Halcome, and the nefarious Count Fosco, whose schemes and plots have earned him a place among the ranks of the best fictional villains.

The book has since been adapted into countless radio-shows, screenplays, television series, and movies, and is listed by The Mystery Writers of America, The Crime Writer’s Association,
The Telegraph, Julian Symons, and Haycraft Queen as one of the best Crime/Mystery Novels. 
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Price HK$ 29,000



The Morals of Confucius - Confucius

Circa 1760 -1780 - Printed for Randal Taylor, London - First Thus
A later 18th century reprint of this work and the first to include the folding frontispiece engraving of Confucius (often missing). First published in 1691 and scarce in any early edition, more so this edition with the engraving. In contemporary binding, and with decorations to title page, six headpieces, and three tailpieces.

Beginning with a ‘
Preface’ introducing this translation and its sources, followed by ‘Part First’ titled ‘Of the Antiquity and Philosophy of the Chinese’, then ‘Part II’ which offers selected translations from the three books, and ends with 80 ‘Maxims’.

‘The great Chinese teacher Confucius (551 BC–479 BC) articulated a philosophy based on the concepts of ren (‘benevolence’ or ‘compassion’) and li (‘ritual’ or ‘propriety’). He hoped to create the ideal, superior man (junzi) and thereby facilitate a just society.

Confucius’s teachings were highly influential across China and large areas of east Asia for almost two millennia before this 1691 work offered English readers their first introduction to his philosophical approach. It provides an account of Confucius’s life and times, as well as 80 of his maxims.

This English-language text is based on a French-language edition published in 1688, which in turn relied on a Latin work of 1687 published in Paris.’ - Marsh’s Library, Dublin.
 
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Price HK$ 21,000



Youth : A Narrative, and Two Other Stories - Signed - Joseph Conrad

1902 - William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh and London - First Edition, First Impression, First State (with earliest ads dated 10/02)
‘The reaches opened before us and closed behind, as if the forest had stepped leisurely across the water to bar the way for our return. We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness.

A signed first edition of Conrad's acclaimed short story collection, including his masterpiece '
The Heart of Darkness', which with its generation of visual scene upon visual scene each charged with more intense emotive impact, and a final cumulative effect of human imbecility, evil and horror, is now regarded as one of the greatest short stories ever written.

‘I couldn't help asking him once what he meant by coming here at all. “To make money, of course. What do you think?” he said scornfully.


The Horror! The Horror! 
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Price HK$ 10,000



Handbook for China (Including Hong Kong) - Carl Crow, Carl Sowerby

1933 - Kelly & Walsh, Shanghai - Fifth Edition, Revised Throughout
A superb copy of this uncommon, detailed guidebook, with 390 pages of text. Illustrated throughout, including six folding colour maps. At the rear are 48 pages of traveller focussed advertisements, and a ten page detailed index.

Fascinating and comprehensive, Crow’s handbook includes informative sections for the traveller on Shanghai, Peking, and Hong Kong, each with numerous maps, as well as chapters on flora and fauna, climate, transportation, and hotels, together with historical sketches, the religions of China, arts and industry, and the government.
 
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Price HK$ 2,800



The Story of My Life - Signed - Clarence Darrow

1932 - Charles Scribner's Sons, New York - First Edition. One of 15 presentation copies
An exceptional, uncut and unread example of one of only fifteen signed presentation copies, in a large special ivory buckram binding (unnumbered as issued), and with extra illustrations, including the striking colour frontispiece portrait of Darrow (as opposed to the black and white photograph of the trade edition), sixteen photographic plates showing 21 illustrations (five more than the trade edition), one page of sketches, and a facsimile page of Darrow’s The Pilgrim.

A highly entertaining autobiography, despite Darrow’s occasional side-track, and the strength of character that made him one of America’s most combative and renowned attorney's of his time. Covers the Leopold-Loeb murder trial and the ‘Scopes’ monkey trial.

‘For 40 years the shambling figure, drawling speech, and acid wit of Clarence Darrow delighted audiences throughout the nation at his lectures and debates on many topics: questioning free will and immortality and God; opposing the tariff and prohibition and the League of Nations; advocating the closed shop, the abolition of capital punishment and child labor, reform of the judicial and penal systems…. He wrote profusely, in a forceful if undisciplined way’. –
American National Biography. 
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Price HK$ 20,000



The bibliographical Decameron - Rev. T. F. Dibdin

1817 - Printed for the author by W. Bulmer and Co. Shakespeare Press, London - First Edition
A stunning contemporary bound example of Dibdin’s enthusiastic and richly illustrated three volume exploration of bibliographical history from illuminated manuscripts to book collectors and contemporary book auctions. In-text engravings, thirty five full page plates and two double page plates.

‘Perhaps the most lavish of all Dibdin's works. Its publication was a financial success and doubtless marks the high-water mark of the Dibdinian bibliomania’. (Jackson 40).
 
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Price HK$ 20,000



A Bibliographical, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour in the Northern Counties of England and in Scotland - Reverend Thomas Frognall Dibdin

1838 - Printed for the author by C. Richards, London
Dibdin’s two volume bibliographic tour of the libraries of Northern England and Scotland, in contemporary bindings, richly illustrated with in-text engravings, forty full page plates as listed and two more not called for (’Facade of Entrance into the Glasgow Cemetery’ (701) and ‘Seal of Cardinal Beaton and of the University of St. Andrew’ (888))

Full of anecdotes, footnotes that tempt one astray from the text, and Dibdin’s thoughts on a variety of encounters, for example on drinking too much ‘Whiskey’ –

‘We were now then at Dumfries. During and after dinner, I made attacks upon the whiskey in every possible direction: with and without aqueous dilution – with and without saccharine infusion: but to no purpose. “Disguise thyself as thou wilt, still, WHISKEY, still thou art a bitter draught”*. With or without sugar, or water – hot or cold – still thou art brimstone and fire to-day, and fire and brimstone to-morrow. As it was my
first, so it was my last, experiment upon this generally seductive liquor with the Scotch. In the everlasting toddy-potations at Glasgow, I could never be brought to hear my part in brandishing a ladle or emptying a rummer. Even its infusion into the punch-bowl there, though that bowl came fresh and foaming from the “cunning” hand of the good Joseph Hunter, Esq. – even then, the slightest infusion of this pellucid dram seemed, to my palate, to opison the wholeof its contents. “Ah, sir, but you should just live in the mountains a twelvemonth – and then!” – “Execrate it the more”, replied I. My disputant thought me a “hopeless character:” and I bade a longum vale to whiskey

*Substitute “slavery” for “whiskey”, and the quotation is from Sterne. They place very small bottles or decanters of this liquor by the side of a glass, before you; and I believe sixpence will supply you with a portion . . . sufficient to make your head ache for a week. It is poetically called “MOUNTAIN DEW” !’ [Volume II page 446].
 
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Price HK$ 5,000



1938 - Victor Gollancz Limited, London - First Edition
‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.’

A superb copy – in the uncommon, fragile, unrestored dust jacket – of this iconic gothic mystery. Part of Queen's Quorum, and a Haycraft-Queen cornerstone mystery.

Considered du Maurier’s finest work, the novel is narrated by the second Mrs de Winters, the naive second wife of wealthy widower, Maxim de Winter, owner of the renowned estate, Manderley. As the story unfolds, the second Mrs de Winter increasingly finds herself haunted by her glamorous predecessor, Rebecca, and tormented by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs Danvers, subsequently leading her to uncover an unexpected tragedy...
 
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Price HK$ 40,000



 
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