The Square Egg and other Sketches, with Three Plays and Illustrations. With a Biography by his Sister. - H. H. Munro (pseudonym ‘Saki’) 1924 - John Lane The Bodley Head Limited, London - First Edition ‘Saki's own light-hearted contes cruels elegantly depict practical jokes gone wrong, childhood savagery, the inanities of country-house life or kindly, beneficent nature unexpectedly turning deadly, and yet they remain as fizzily delicious as a Pimm's cup on a summer's day’ - Janet Mullaney, Saki: A peerless writer mown down by the scythe of War.

A bright copy of the first edition, scarce and even more so in the dust jacket, of ‘Saki’s’ posthumously published collection, featuring 8 short stories and 3 plays, a biography penned by his sister which includes Munro’s time in Burma (there is also a short story based in Burma), and numerous whimsical illustrative drawings by the author throughout. Housed in a custom chemise and blue morocco-backed slipcase.

Perhaps the most graceful spokesman for England’s ‘Golden Afternoon’ – the slow and peaceful years before the First World War – ’Saki’s’ macabre, satirical, and occasionally supernatural tales skewered the banality and hypocrisy of polite Edwardian society, and established him as an undisputed master of the short story and one of the great writers of a bygone era.

The world ‘Saki’ populates is a world full of sunny humour and zephyrs of merriment, where wit and wisdom are one and the same thing. Let us live there and laugh unrestrainedly’
– Morning Post
  ‘Like Wilde and Wodehouse, ‘Saki’ knew his way round the clubs and country houses of the upper classes, whose absurdities and hypocrisies he exposed with razor-sharp wit.... One is delighted to discover a writer with a vision of humanity shot through with a pessimism as bleak as that of Swift, Celine, Bernhard, Kingsley Amis’ – Patrick McGrath, British novelist

Hector Hugh Munro (pseudonym ‘Saki’, 1870-1916) was the son of a military police offer in British-controlled Burma. After the death of his mother in 1872, he and his siblings were sent to live with extended family in Devon, England. Considered sickly as a child, and subsequently tutored at home, Munro was later sent to boarding school. In 1893, he joined the Indian Imperial police in Burma (where he reportedly kept a tiger cub as a pet) before devoting himself to writing in 1894. While working as a foreign correspondent in the Balkans, Russia, and Paris, he began to publish numerous stories and sketches in newspapers, as well as plays and historical studies. He also received public recognition for a series of political satires based upon Alice in Wonderland. Although officially over age, he enlisted for service in WWI, and was killed by a sniper on the 16th of November 1916, near Beaumont-Hamel, France.

References:
New York Review Books, web. Penguin Random House, web. Herbert, Burma 325.

Octavo (13 x 19.5 cm). pp. [8] 318 [2-author advertisements]. Publisher’s dark blue cloth, upper cover bordered and lettered in blind, gilt titles to spine, dark blue top stain, in original tan dust jacket lettered in black, ‘7/6 net’ printed on spine. Portrait frontispiece of the author. Corrigendum tipped-in.
  Condition: Near fine, one or two gatherings slightly over opened, in very good dust jacket, would have been fine if not for the split along fold which neatly separates the back panel from the spine and front panel, in fine slipcase and chemise.   Ref: 107979   Price: HK$ 4,500