The Romance of a Demon (1892) by Thomas Malyn


This short novel was published in 1892 by the London firm of Digby, Long and Co. Apparently written as an attempt to discredit Theosophy, Buddhism and other esoteric religions, it tells the entertaining story of Duncan Derroll and his discovery of the occult practices that have brought disaster upon the family of his beloved Carrie Rimmon.

I stumbled across this book at the British Library last year. It’s extremely rare, being only viewable as an electronic scan even at the BL itself. I’ve transcribed the present text manually from the print on demand version issued by the British Library (I’ve checked with the library’s permissions department and apparently this doesn’t breach any copyright rules).

I’ve also made limited enquiries about the author, Thomas Malyn. Assuming this isn’t a pseudonym, The Romance of a Demon appears to have been Malyn’s only published work. I’ve identified two possible ‘Thomas Malyns’ who may be the author. One was a Chemist Manager based in Caerphilly and the other was a schoolteacher from Essex. The latter seems the most likely candidate, so here’s all I’ve discovered about Thomas Malyn. He was born in Essex c.1848, but spent some years lodging with Henry Browson and his wife at Legbourne in Lincolnshire, whilst working as a schoolteacher. By 1891, his occupation is given as ‘certificated schoolmaster’ and he has returned to Essex (residing at Braintree). He also entered the Freemasons in 1871, but appears to have left by the mid-1880s. By 1911, he had become a Headmaster, but I haven’t been able to find out which school/s he taught at. He appears to have married twice, once to Jane and, in 1893, to Margaret. He died in 1937.

Then again, the writer may well have been an obscure Chemist Manager from Caerphilly. Who can say? If anyone knows anything about the mysterious ‘Thomas Malyn’, I’d absolutely LOVE to hear from you!

The Romance of a Demon [Kindle]

The Romance of a Demon [Epub]

The Romance of a Demon [PDF]

John Long (1864-1935), whose firm, Digby, Long and Co., published the novel.

John Long (1864-1935), whose firm, Digby, Long and Co., published the novel.

7 thoughts on “The Romance of a Demon (1892) by Thomas Malyn

  1. Steve Coombs

    May I ask why you believe Malyn left the Freemasons? As a Mason myself I would have thought it less likely in the 19th century for a Mason to leave the Brotherhood than perhaps it would be these days. May I add that I really do appreciate these postings and the trouble you take over them. The books make great reading.

  2. Stephen Hubbard

    This Thomas Malyn is my wife’s grandfather’s cousin on her Dad’s side. I have done some research and she was told about headmaster’s and teacher’s in the family so we are claiming him as our author. Many thanks.

    1. stylesofdying Post author

      Hi Stephen. Are you able to give us more information – when was he born, What other interests did he have, what school did he teach in, and so on. Above all, thanks for getting in touch – it’s really exciting to have more news about this mysterious writer!

      1. Sue

        Thomas Malyn was Headmaster of the national school in Braintree. There are many references to him in the local newspapers at the end of the 19th century and he was highly regarded. One report notes in 1882 that the school was classed as outstanding thanks to his leadership and had been one of the best schools in the area for four years. Thomas appeared to have a wide range of interests from cricket to music and there are many references to the school rooms being used for recitals and school trips, and he was also involved in the local government. There are no references to him being an author.

        He married Jane Waters and there is a newspaper reference in 1882 of Mrs Malyn receiving a fish slice and fork at the time Thomas received candlesticks. Jane died in 1891 and two years later Thomas married again; another teacher Margaret Mary Whitworth and the couple had 2 boys -Donald Malyn and Reginald Malyn, the latter died in WW1 and is buried in Arras. Donald went on to run Barclays Bank in Cairo where he also started a cricket club. He married but had no children.

        Thomas lived at Bleak House in Braintree and on his death in 1937 he left £1565, 8s, 7d, which in 2014 was worth £90,000.

        Thomas Malyn is an ancestor.

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