Marjorie Bowen, 1885-1952


Biographical note

Pseudonym of Margaret Campbell, British author who wrote historical romances, supernatural horror stories, popular history and biography. Her total output numbers over 150 volumes with the bulk of her work under the ‘Bowen’ pseudonym. She also wrote under the names Joseph Shearing, George R. Preedy, John Winch, Robert Paye and Margaret Campbell. As Joseph Shearing, she wrote several sinister gothic romances full of terror and mystery. Many of these stories were published as Berkley Medallion Books. Several of her books were adapted as films.

Her books are much sought after by aficionados of gothic horror and received praise from critics. According to Sally Benson in The New Yorker (1965) “Mr Shearing is a painstaking researcher, a superb writer, a careful technician, and a master of horror. There is no one else quite like him”. Graham Greene stated in his Paris Review interview (Autumn 1953), “I chose Marjorie Bowen [as a major influence] because as I have told you, I don’t think that the books that one reads as an adult influence one as a writer . . . But books such as Marjorie Bowen’s, read at a young age, do influence one considerably.”


Weird fiction

Short stories

Short story collections

  • God's Playthings [Smith, Elder, 1912]
    Including: “A Poor Spanish Lodging”, “The Burning of the Vanities”, “The Extraordinary Adventure of Grace Endicott”, “Twilight”.
  • Shadows of Yesterday [Stories from an Old Catalogue [Smith, Elder (London), 1916]
    Including: “Giuditta’s Wedding Night”, “The Fair Hair of Ambrosine”, “Petronilla of the Laurel Trees”.
  • Curious Happenings [Mills & Boon, 1917]
    Including: “The Pond”, “Love”, “Belle Hutchinson”, “The Sign-Painter and the Crystal Fishes”.
  • Crimes of Old London [Odhams (London), 1919]
    Including: “Brent’s Folly”, “The Confession of Beau Sekforde” [aka “The Housekeeper”].
  • The Pleasant Husband and Other Stories [1921]
    Including: “The Blue Glove”.
  • Seeing Life! and Other Stories [Hurst & Blackett (London), 1923]
    Including: "The Tarnished Mirror", “Ann Mellor’s Lover”, “The Avenging of Anne Leete”, “The Cabriolet”, “Decay”, “He Made a Woman”, “Kecksies”, “The Proud Pomfret”.
  • Dark Ann and Other Stories [John Lane (London), [1927]
    Including: "The Accident", "A Persistent Woman", "Flower of Carnival", "Dark Ann".
  • Old Patch’s Medley; or, A London Miscellany, Being Some Adventures of the Old Gentleman in London City Some Two Hundred Years Ago or So, Here Recorded [Selwyn & Blount, 1928]
    Including: “The Confession of Beau Sekforde” [aka “The Housekeeper”].
  • The Gorgeous Lovers, and Other Stories [The Bodley Head (London), 1929]
    Including: “Florence Flannery”, “The Bishop of Hell”.
  • Sheep’s Head and Babylon, and other stories of yesterday and to-day [The Bodley Head, 1929]
    Including: “An Appointment with Stiffkey” [aka “Half Past Two”], “The Necromancers”, “The Pond”, “The Prescription”, “Sheep’s Head and Babylon”
  • Grace Latouche and the Warringtons, some nineteenth-century pieces, mostly Victorian [Selwyn & Blount (London), 1931]
    Including: “The Crown Derby Plate”, “Heliotrope”, “Kecksies”, “Raw Material”, “Marwood’s Ghost Story”, ”The Sign-Painter and the Crystal Fishes”.
  • The Last Bouquet: Some Twilight Tales [The Bodley Head (London), 1933]
    Includes: "The Last Bouquet", "Madam Spitfire", "The Fair Hair of Ambrosine", "The Hidden Ape", "The Avenging of Anne Leete", "The Crown Derby Plate", "The Prescription", "The Lady Clodagh", "Florence Flannery", "Kecksies", "The Sign-Painter and the Crystal Fishes", "Raw Material".
  • The Knot Garden: Some Old Fancies Reset [as George Preedy] [The Bodley Head (London), 1933]
    Including: “Red Champagne”, “Graf Maarten and the Idiot”.
  • Orange Blossoms [as Joseph Shearing] [Heinemann (London), 1938]
    Including: “She Knew What to Do”, “They Found My Grave”.
  • The Bishop of Hell and Other Stories [John Lane, The Bodley Head (London) 1949]
    Including: "The Fair Hair of Ambroise", "The Crown Derby Plate", "The Housekeeper", "Florence Flannery", "The Bishop of Hell", "The Grey Chamber", "The Avenging of Ann Leete", "Kecksies".
  • Kecksies and Other Twilight Tales [Arkham House, 1976]
    Including "The Hidden Ape", "Kecksies", "Raw Material", "The Avenging of Anne Leete", "The Sign-Painter and the Crystal Fishes", "The Crown Derby Plate", "The Breakdown", "One Remained Behind", "The House by the Poppy Field", "Florence Flannery", "Half Past Two" (aka "An Appointment with Stiffkey") .
  • Twilight and Other Supernatural Romances [Ash-Tree Press, 1998]
    Including: "Dark Ann", "The Last Bouquet", "Madam Spitfire", "The Lady Clodagh", "Decay", "The Fair Hair of Ambrosine", "Ann Mellor's Lover", "Giuditta's Wedding Night", "Twilight", "The Burning of the Vanities", "A Stranger Knocked", "They Found My Grave", "Brent's Folly", "The confession of Beau Sekforde" (aka "The Housekeeper") "The Recluse and Springtime", "Vigil", and the short novel Julia Roseingrave.

Other fiction

Historical fiction

as Joseph Shearing

as George R. Preedy

As Robert Paye

As Mrs Vere Campbell or Margaret Campbell

Non Fiction

© 2015 The University of Adelaide
CRICOS Provider Number 00123M