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Short Stories by Marie Belloc Lowndes: A Monstrous Regiment of Women

Edited by Elyssa Warkentin
Cambridge Scholars Press
2018

Novelist, short-story writer, memoirist, and journalist Marie Belloc Lowndes (1868-1947) was one of the most prolific and bestselling writers of her day. Unlike her contemporary and sometime-rival Agatha Christie, she is now largely unknown and almost entirely out of print. This collection of short stories brings Lowndes’s most popular, distinctive, and culturally and artistically significant works of short fiction to modern audiences for the first time. These stories are selected from various periods in Lowndes’s writing life, varied publication venues, and different genres. Each demonstrates her subtlety and skill as a story-teller, as well as her pervasive thematic interest in gender issues, the trials of marriage, and the nature of criminality.

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The Lodger

By Marie Belloc Lowndes
Edited by Elyssa Warkentin
Cambridge Scholars Press
2015

Out of the London fog, a mysterious stranger arrives on the Buntings’ doorstep seeking lodgings and a kindly ear – but a horrifying secret lurks behind his gentlemanly façade. Can Mrs Bunting uncover the true nature of his strange obsessions and avert looming disaster for her family? Marie Belloc Lowndes’s psychological thriller The Lodger (1913) was the first novelization of the infamous and still-unsolved “Jack the Ripper” murders of 1888. The novel transformed a sordid story of the London streets into a taut domestic tale of conflicted motivations, uncertain loyalty, and slow-burning terror. Lowndes, a contemporary – and rival – of Agatha Christie, adopted and subverted the detective fiction genre in order to explore women’s roles within the family and within larger society in ways that still resonate strongly today.

This scholarly edition revives a pivotal text by an undervalued late-Victorian and early twentieth-century author, and adds to our understanding of that transformational literary period. This edition brings together, for the first time, Lowndes’ 1913 novel and the 1911 short story upon which it was based, providing new transcriptions of the texts alongside facsimiles of Henry Raleigh’s original illustrations. A critical introduction offers historical, thematic, and biographical context drawn from new archival research, as well as an exhaustive bibliography of Lowndes’s published work.