Romantic mystery novel first published in New York by Clode in 1905. Matthew Phipps Shiel (1865–1947) was a prolific British writer of West Indian descent. Shiel was more than just a writer of sensational tales of magic and mystery. There is an undercurrent of philosophic seriousness running beneath the finely textured prose of all his fiction. Like his contemporaries George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) and H. G. Wells (1866-1946), Shiel wrote out of the intellectual fervor of his times when the impact of Darwin’s theories and the revolutionary strides being made in the material sciences were shaking to the roots the philosophical and religious underpinnings of the closing nineteenth century.