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THE FLOATING CAFÉ and Other Weird Tales by Margery Lawrence,with an Introduction by Richard Dalby. Ashcroft, BC, Canada; Ash-Tree Press; 2001. 1st hardcover edition thus.

ISBN: 1-55310-025-5; xiv + 191pp.

The Floating Café is the third collection by Margery Lawrence (1889–1969) to be published by Ash-Tree Press, following the two ‘round table’ books of ghostly and horrific tales, Nights of the Round Table and The Terraces of Night. A ‘round table’ collection in all but name, this book contains twelve stories of the weird, fantastic, and supernatural, but dispenses with the somewhat awkward linking framework of the dining club setting which loosely connected the stories in the first two books.

Originally published sixty-five years ago in the autumn of 1936, The Floating Café was reprinted no less than four times between then and 1947. Although 27,000 copies of this very popular collection were published to meet demand from the reading public, it is now exceptionally rare in any edition, and Ash-Tree Press is pleased to make this volume available again, after being out of print for more than half a century. From the mysterious sea creatures of the title story to a sacrificial mask with other-worldly powers, this collection shows Lawrence at the top of her form as a writer of weird tales.

In the fourth volume of this series, to be published in 2002, editor Richard Dalby will be collecting together the remainder of Margery Lawrence’s supernatural tales, discovered in a variety of now-scarce books and magazines. This collection will be followed by a book containing all twelve of Lawrence’s stories featuring her occult detective Miles Pennoyer.

CONTENTS: Introduction by Richard Dalby; The Floating Café; The Tale of Biddey Wiggin; The Man Who Came Back; The Cinema Ghost; John Challoner’s Wife; The House of the Dancing Feet; The Man Who Walked on the Air; White Rose of Weary Leaf; The Professor’s Ring; The Beauty Spot; ‘I’ll Help You Over . . .’; The Mask of Sacrifice.

Jacket art is by Paul Lowe. Limited to 600 copies.

A fine copy in fine dust jacket.