Margetson, W.H. Hard Cover. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1910. First American Edition. Near Fine.
Illustrated with eight black and white plates by W. H. Margetson. First American edition. Publisher's decorative red cloth, with linear Art Deco border to the front board in blind, lettered in gilt. Very good, front inner hinge cracked but neatly repaired, some light wear to the extremities, minor toning to the spine, bright gilt, a hint of light spotting to the endpapers, otherwise bright and clean pages. Overall, a bright and fresh copy. A Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone. Originally published in The Strand Magazine, At the Villa Rose is a detective novel that introduces Mason's fictional protagonist Inspector Gabriel Hanaud. Considered by the Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection to be the "first official policeman of importance in twentieth century detective fiction," Hanaud is a French detective who uses logic and psychology to solve crime. While his method of investigation is relatively similar to that of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, Mason made sure to differentiate between the two physically, making Hanaud short and broad in contrast to the more lanky Holmes. The novel is a murder mystery that tells the story of a wealthy, elderly woman who is robbed, beaten, and murdered shortly before adopting a young girl, who immediately becomes the prime suspect. Interestingly, Mason reveals the killer and true nature of the crime halfway through the text, then spends the remainder of the novel retelling the crime from a completely different perspective. A Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone; although considered somewhat on the cusp between adventure novel and detective fiction, At the Villa Rose is included in this prestigious selection because it is demonstrative of the range and variety within the detective genre.