First edition, first printing. Inscribed presentation copy. Publisher's original gold and black snakeskin effect boards with titles in black on a white paper label to the spine, in dustwrapper. A very good copy, the binding square and firm with some rubbing to the board edges and toning to the white paper label on the spine. The contents, with an erasure at the head of the front endpaper and some uniform toning to the paper stock are otherwise clean throughout. Complete with the supplied original dustwrapper that is mildly rubbed and nicked to the extremities, without loss. Rare in presentation state.

Inscribed by the author in black ink on the front endpaper "Dear Mr Powys / Just to hope that the / middle story may enlarge / my meager answer about / immortality. / Yours / Aleister Crowley / as your ??? / Sept 15 [19]29. ev [era vulgaris]". A collection of three short stories: The Stratagem; The Testament of Magdalen Blair; His Secret Sin. The middle story "a description of after death experiences as the brain decays" is noted in The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural as "one of the most horrible stories ever written" and in The Guide to Supernatural Fiction (Bleiler) "a remarkable achievement, as one of the most unpleasant stories in the genre". The recipient of Crowley's presentation is most likely John Cowper Powys, both shared a close friendship with the author and biographer Louis Wilkinson [Marlow] and were joint godfathers to Wilkinson's son Oliver (born 1916).

Stock code: 23247


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London: The Mandrake Press.


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