The Red Thumb Mark - Inscribed - R. Austin Freeman 1907 - Collingwood Bros., London - First Edition ‘One of the best detective story writers of all time’ - Hugh Greene, The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes.

A wonderful author’s presentation copy of Freeman’s first, scarce, and groundbreaking crime novel, with handsome illustrated frontispiece depicting the protagonist and his assistant, by Thomas Edward Francis.

Inscribed ‘to ‘Elizabeth Heneman from her friend R. Austin Freeman aug. 1908’.

Freeman draws on his own experience as a colonial surgeon and lab technician to bring a new level of realism to the genre. Credited with inventing the first forensic detective novel, while retaining a narrative style reminiscent of Arthur Conan Doyle, the novel was groundbreaking in its approach of employing new crime analysis techniques as plot points, including the first known use of fingerprinting. Considered one of the most significant developments in crime fiction since the advent of Sherlock Holmes.
  Richard Austin Freeman (1862-1943): ‘He is known to be an expert bookbinder, a capable wax and clay modeler, and an amateur painter of the academic school, as well as his own laboratory technician. To prospective interviews he invariably replies: ‘I have no desire for personal publicity.’

Thomas Edward Francis (1873-1961) ‘Was a London landscape painter. It was his custom to make long walking tours in the summer months, both on the Continent and in England. He exhibited works under his name, mostly in London at the turn of the century. He also appears to have exhibited works in oils and watercolours under the names "Pierre Le Boeuf", "Arthur Drew", and "Andrea Vesari".’

Provenance: Inscribed on front free endpaper: ‘Elizabeth Heneman, from her friend, R Austin Freeman, Aug. 1908.’

References: Haycraft,
Murder for Pleasure, 68. Book and Magazine Collector, No. 272, 40. The British Art Co, Web. Lilly Library, Detective Fiction, 40.

Octavo (19 x 13 cm). pp. [8] 232. In publisher’s black cloth, front board and spine lettered in white, although mostly rubbed off, illustration of red thumbprint to front board.
  Condition: Very good, wear to corners, loss of white lettering to spine and front board, light foxing to first and last few pages.   Ref: 108621   Price: HK$ 20,000