5 1/4 x 7 1/2
Born Leonard Miller in Belsize Park, London, in 1864 to wealthy Jewish parents, Leonard Merrick began his career as an actor before abandoning the stage in 1884 to try his luck as a novelist. His first novel, Mr. Bazalgette’s Agent, was published in 1888 and features a determined and resourceful heroine in the figure of Miriam Lea, who grapples with some very modern dilemmas of female virtue and vice. The novel begins when Lea, having fallen on hard times, answers an advertisement calling for private agents. Within weeks she finds herself in Mr. Bazalgette’s employ as a private detective, traveling on a train to Hamburg in pursuit of an audacious fraudster. What follows is a journey through some of the great cities of Europe—and eventually to South Africa—as Lea attempts to track down her man.
In 1925, in response to a query about the book’s title, Merrick quipped: “It’s a terrible book. It’s the worst thing I ever wrote. I bought them all up and destroyed them. You can’t find any.” It seems Merrick was true to his overly self-critical word, as copies of the book can now only be found in private collections and in a handful of university and national libraries throughout the world.
This new edition, republished by the British Library for their British Library Crime Classics series, offers modern crime fiction fans the opportunity to rediscover an enticing and rare detective story.