Monday, December 23, 2019

Gordon Casserly, Tiger Girl

Casserly, Gordon. Tiger Girl (London: Philip Allan, 1934)

Tiger Girl is one of the rarest of the eight novels by Gordon Casserly (1869-1947), four of which can be classified as having fantastical elements. These four novels include The Elephant God (1920), The Jungle Girl (1921), The Monkey God (1933), and the volume under review.

Tiger Girl centers on the Scotsman Alan Stuart, a British Army officer serving in northern India, and his blossoming romance with Margery Webb, the daughter of plantation owner, whose rival plantation owner, Mr. Morton, also surreptitiously seeks the hand of Margery in marriage. The courtship is interrupted by various tiger attacks, including sightings of the legendary Ghost Tiger which shows no wounds when shot with regular bullets. Morton employs gypsies and a yogi to work eastern magic to thwart Stuart's courtship of Margery. There are a number of attacks on Stuart and his friends, and in the end Stuart realizes the supernatural agency of the Ghost Tiger and fashions two handmade silver bullets, each etched with the sign of the cross, which enables him to kill it. Just why a silver bullet, or a bullet etched with the cross, is effective in dispatching the Ghost Tiger, the reader is never told. And there are other similar elements in the book which don't quite add up, like why the book is titled Tiger Girl (the Ghost Tiger turns out to have been male). Towards the end of the book, the character Carter reappears from Casserly's previous novel, The Monkey God, somewhat tying the two books together, but otherwise making little difference. Tiger Girl remains primarily a romance adventure novel, but with some supernatural elements.

NB: Tiger Girl has just been reissued in trade paperback by Bruin Books (Amazon US here; and Amazon UK here)

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