"Sometimes I venture to call my soul my own"
Richard Marsh was the pseudonym of the British author born Richard Bernard Heldmann. Heldmann was educated at Eton and Oxford University, and began to publish short stories, mostly adventure tales, as Bernard Heldmann, before adopting the name Richard Marsh in 1893.
He is best known for his supernatural thriller The Beetle: A Mystery. Published in 1897, the same year as Bram Stoker's Dracula, and initially, it was even more popular. The Beetle remained in print until 1960, and was subsequently resurrected in 2004 and 2007. It is a story about a mysterious oriental figure who pursues a British politician to London, where he wreaks havoc with his powers of hypnosis and shape-shifting. Marsh's novel is very similar to other sensational novels, such as Bram Stoker's Dracula, George du Maurier's Trilby, and Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu novels, which appeared around the time of the end of the nineteenth century.
Like Dracula, and some of the novels pioneered by Wilkie Collins and others in the 1860s, The Beetle is narrated from the perspectives of multiple characters.
Richard Marsh was a prolific novelist, whose works include, The Mahatma's Pupil (1893), Crime and the Criminal (1897), The Datchet Diamonds (1898), The Coward Behind the Curtain (1908) and The Deacon's Daughter (1917).
Richard Marsh died from heart disease in Haywards Heath, Sussex on 9 August 1915. Several of his novels were published posthumously.