Richard Marsh (author)

Richard Marsh (author)

Richard Marsh (1857-1915) was the pseudonym of the British author born Richard Bernard Heldmann. He is best known for his supernatural thriller "The Beetle: A Mystery", published in the same year as Bram Stoker's Dracula and initially even more popular. "The Beetle" remained in print until 1960, and was subsequently resurrected in 2004 and 2007. Heldman was educated at Eton and Oxford University. He began to publish short stories, mostly adventure tales, as "Bernard Heldmann," before adopting the name "Richard Marsh" in 1893. Several of the prolific Marsh's novels were published posthumously.

The Beetle

Heldmann's greatest commercial success came with one of his earliest novels, "The Beetle" (1897). A story about a mysterious oriental figure who pursues a British politician to London, where he wreaks havoc with his powers of hypnosis and shape-shifting, Heldmann/Marsh's novel is of a piece with other sensational turn-of-the-century fictions such as Stoker's Dracula, George du Maurier's Trilby, and Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu novels. Like Dracula and many of the sensation novels pioneered by Wilkie Collins and others in the 1860s, "The Beetle" is narrated from the perspectives of multiple characters, a technique used in many late nineteenth-century novels (those of Wilkie Collins and Stoker, for example) to create suspense.


* "The Mahatma's Pupil" (1893)
* "The Devil's Diamond" (1893)
* "Mrs Musgrave and Her Husband" (1895)
* "The Beetle" (1897)
* "Crime and the Criminal" (1897)
* "The Duke and the Damsel" (1897)
* "Philip Bennion's Death" (1897)
* "The House of Mystery" (1898)
* "Curios: Some Strange Adventures of Two Bachelors" (1898)
* "The Goddess: A Demon" (1900)
* "The Seen and the Unseen" (1900)
* "Marvels and Mysteries" (1900)
* "The Joss: A Reversion" (1901)
* "The Magnetic Girl" (1903)
* "The Confessions of a Young Lady: Her Doings and Misdoings" (1905)
* "The Coward Behind the Curtain" (1908)
* "The Deacon's Daughter" (1917)
* "On the Jury" (1918)

Further reading

*Vuohelainen, Minna. "Distorting the Genre, Defining the Audience, Detecting the Author: Richard Marsh's 'For Debt' (1902)." "CLUES: A Journal of Detection" 25.4 (Summer 2007): 17-26.

External links

* [ Book summary for "The Joss: A Reversion" (1901) at Valancourt Books]
* [ Book summary for "Curios" (1898) at Valancourt Books]
* [ Richard Marsh Bibliography at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB)]

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