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Journey into Fear - Eric Ambler

1940 - Hodder and Stoughton Limited, London - First Edition
A clean and wonderfully bright, thus rare, jacketed first edition of this thrilling tale of international intrigue, beginning in Istanbul at the outbreak of World War II.

‘Returning to his hotel room after a late-night flirtation with a cabaret dancer at an Istanbul boîte, Graham is surprised by an intruder with a gun. What follows is a nightmare of intrigue for the English armaments engineer as he makes his way home aboard an Italian freighter. Among the passengers are a couple of Nazi assassins intent on preventing his returning to England with plans for a Turkish defence system, the seductive cabaret dancer and her manager husband, and a number of surprising allies.’ [from a later edition]
 
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Price HK$ 14,000



Death in the House - Anthony Berkeley

1939 - Hodder and Stoughton Limited, London - First Edition
A rare Berkeley title.

‘Lord Wellacombe, Secretary of State for India, dies whilst giving a speech to introduce a new bill on the floor of the House of Commons. His untimely demise looks like a stroke, but is it mere coincidence that a threat on his life had been made? The bill needs to be passed, but is anyone brave enough to defy the threats and risk potential murder?’

Enter Lord Arthur...
 
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Price HK$ 1,800



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



The Free Fishers - John Buchan

1934 - Hodder Stoughton, London - First Edition
A fine first edition of Buchan’s last work of historical fiction, set in the Regency period, during the Napoleonic Wars.

Set in the bleak Yorkshire hamlet of Hungrygrain, this is a stirring tale of treason and romance. Anthony Lammas, minister and Professor of Logic at St Andrews University finds himself entangled in a web of intrigue that threatens the country. His boyhood allegiance to a brotherhood of deep-sea fishermen involves him and his handsome ex-pupil with a beautiful but dangerous woman.

‘Crammed with the right ingredients : fishermen, hills, boats, hard-riding Scots, and intrigue in high aces’ –
The Spectator, July 1934. 
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Price HK$ 4,000



Incendiary - SIGNED - Chris Cleave

2005 - Chatto & Windus, London - First Edition
‘An al-Qaeda bomb attack on a London soccer match provides the tragicomic donnée of former Daily Telegraph journalist Cleave's impressive multilayered debut: a novel-length letter from an enraged mother to Osama bin Laden. Living hand to mouth in London's East End, the unnamed mother's life is shattered when her policeman husband (part of a bomb disposal unit) and four-year-old son are killed in the stadium stands.’ – Publisher’s Weekly.

‘Arguably the strangest epistolary novel ever written’ –
Newsweek.

True first and limited edition issued two weeks before the trade edition. Signed by the author and with a typed note of thanks. Unfortunately, it was published on the 7 July 2005, the day of the London bombings and most of the major bookshops removed it from their shelves.
 
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Price HK$ 2,000



The Secret Agent. A Simple Tale - Joseph Conrad

1907 - Methuen & Co., London - First Edition
‘I confess that it makes a grisly skeleton. But I will submit that telling Winnie Verloc’s story to its anarchistic end of utter desolation, madness an despair, and telling it as I have told it here, I have not intended to commit a gratuitous outrage on the feelings of mankind’ – Conrad, of The Secret Agent in a later edition.

One of the first examples of a double agent ever produced on paper, and the first book to examine terrorism as a plot device, Conrad’s novel follows Adolf Verloc: a spy with an allegiance to an unnamed country, and his brother-in-law Stevie as they track down a conglomerate of anarchists, terrorists, and spies, risking the loss of everything they hold dear. Based on the true events of the Greenwich Bombing of 1894, Conrad’s Stevie follows a similar trajectory to that of French anarchist, Martial Bourdin.

I am afraid that if you want to go down into history you'll have to do something for it.’ 
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Price HK$ 8,000



1960 - Collins and Harvill Press, London - First Edition in English
‘Reading and rereading it has made me realise how many ways there are of being alive…’ – E. M. Forster.

Lampedusa’s masterful tale of the decline and fall of the house of Salina, a family of Sicilian aristocrats; the novel chronicles the life of world-weary Don Fabrizio, scion of an old feudal family and lover of astronomy, and recounts the fortunes of his nephew, Tancredi, as they struggle between mortality and decay during the Risorgimento.

In bright iconic dust jacket designed by Hans Tisdall, featuring his ‘strong calligraphic lettering and sharply drawn colour separations’.
 
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Price HK$ 2,800



The Valley of Fear. A Sherlock Holmes Story. - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Arthur I. Keller (illustrator)

1914 - George H. Doran Company, New York - First Edition
The fourth and final full-length Sherlock Holmes novel, the true first edition, illustrated with seven colour plates by Arthur Keller, preceding the English edition which was published the following year with a single black and white frontispiece replacing Keller’s seven colour plates.

A retrospective or 'flashback' adventure set in Pennsylvania, 1888. '
The Valley of Fear' is also notable for the involvement of Holmes arch-nemesis Professor Moriarty. The plot is based on the activities of Molly Maguires, an Irish-American activist group known for their violent conflicts and long held status as a secret society.

‘Mr Mac, the most practical thing that you ever did in your life would be to shut yourself up for three months and read twelve hours a day at the annals of crime.’ 
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Price HK$ 4,600



 
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