Robert Cromie


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(1856–1907) was the son of a doctor in Clough, Co. Down, and was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. He was on the staff of the Northern Whig newspaper in Belfast. In 1895 he published an ingenious terrorist novel, The Crack of Doom (the genre became popular, in the wake of various assassinations, in the 1880s). Herbert Brande, a crazed anarcho-scientist, invents a kind of atom bomb. He means to detonate two bombs simultaneously in Labrador and the South Seas. The hero sabotages one expedition; the other ‘has not returned, nor has it ever been definitely traced.’ Kitty's Victoria Cross (1901) is a romance about the life of two middle-class Protestant girls in rural Ireland. Kitty's lover is killed and she is given his VC; she marries another Englishman, and her friend Nannie an American. Cromie collaborated with T. S. Wilson (possibly the physician Theodore Stacey Wilson, 1861–1949) on a series of crime stories, originally published in Black and White, whose hero is Surgeon-Colonel John Hedford, late of the Indian Medical Service, who is brilliant at spotting little-known poisons. These were collected as The Romance of Poisons: Being Weird Episodes from Life (1903).

From The Oxford Companion to Edwardian Fiction in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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