Somewhat unusually for Belloc, this is a mystery novel about the authenticity or otherwise of a piece of art, written explicitly to be read by ladies (chapter 19 begins: "You will have noticed (Lady deigning to read this book)....". Perhaps aptly, it is not listed among Belloc's works enumerated on Wikipedia - a missing masterpiece indeed!
Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc (1870–1953), an Anglo-French author and historian, was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early 20th century, and known as a writer, orator, poet, sailor, satirist, man of letters, soldier and political activist. His Catholic faith had a strong impact on his works. He was President of the Oxford Union and later MP for Salford (1906-1910). A noted disputant in a number of long-running feuds, he was also widely regarded as a humane and sympathetic man. His poetry encompassed comic verses for children and religious poetry. His widely sold "Cautionary Tales for Children" included "Jim, who ran away from his nurse, and was eaten by a lion" and "Matilda, who told lies and was burnt to death". He also collaborated with G. K. Chesterton on a number of works.
Our copy is in good condition for its 80-odd years, the outer cover (there is no dust wrapper) surprisingly unmarked apart from browning of the spine, some minor tearing at the foot of the spine, and general softness at the corners and edges. Inside, the printed details of other Belloc works by Tauchnitz have become visible on the front of the half-title page, which also has a small smudge at the top, but otherwise, internally, the binding is firm and all pages are clean and bright. Another one for the Tauchnitz collector.