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In a Steamer Chair and Other Stories

Robert Barr

Book Overview: 

Thirteen short stories by one of the most famous writers in his day. Robert Barr was a British Canadian short story writer and novelist, born in Glasgow, Scotland. In London of the 1890s Barr became a more prolific author - publishing a book a year - and was familiar with many of the best selling authors of his day, including Bret Harte and Stephen Crane. Most of his literary output was of the crime genre, then quite in vogue. When Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories were becoming well known, Barr published in the Idler the first Holmes parody, "The Adventures of Sherlaw Kombs", a spoof that was continued a decade later in another Barr story, "The Adventure of the Second Swag".Despite the jibe at the growing Holmes phenomenon Barr and Doyle remained on very good terms. Doyle describes him in his memoirs Memories and Adventures as, "a volcanic Anglo - or rather Scot American, with a violent manner, a wealth of strong adjectives, and one of the kindest natures underneath it all." (Summary by Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Morris would introduce her, but seeing that he had for the time being apparently forgotten everything on earth, quietly left them, and took her place at the breakfast table. The blonde young lady looked up again at Mr. Morris, and said—

"I am afraid I am keeping you from breakfast."

"Oh, that doesn't matter."

"I am afraid, then," she continued sweetly, "that I am keeping you from your very interesting table companion."

"Yes, that does matter," said Morris, looking at her. "I wish you good morning, madam." And with that he left her and took his place at the head of the small table.

There was a vindictive look in the blonde young lady's pretty eyes as she sank into her own seat at the breakfast table.

Miss Earle had noticed the depressing effect which even the sight of the blonde lady exercised on Morris the day before, and she looked forward, therefore, to rather an uncompanionable breakfast. She was surprised, . . . Read More

Community Reviews

A delightful compilation of short stories. I'm not sure I've ever read a book that gathers such a variety of genres. Barr included everything from the standard love story to a couple ghost stories.
As it's a book dealing exclusively with travel on steamer ships, he takes an interesting approach...more