(1854-1909) US author who was born and lived mostly in Italy. A capable writer of continental society romances, he is best remembered for "The Upper Berth" (1886 The Broken Shaft; in The Upper Berth coll 1894), a powerful tale of a ship's cabin haunted by a suicide, and one of the most reprinted of all Ghost Stories. Another effective Horror story of the sea is Man Overboard (1903 chap). His seven Supernatural Fictions are all collected as Uncanny Tales (coll 1911 UK; vt Wandering Ghosts 1911 US), which includes the Vampire story "For the Blood is the Life".
FMC's longer works tend toward mysticism. His first novel, Mr Isaacs (1882), uses some of the teachings of Theosophy to enlighten an otherwise mundane romance. The more effective The Witch of Prague (1891), with Byronic overtones, uses the motif of the Femme Fatale to explore powers of the mind. With the Immortals (1888) is a turgid Bangsian Fantasy (and Technofantasy): an inventor dabbles with electricity in order to summon the Ghosts of the famous for the purpose of conversation. Much more successful is Khaled (1891), an Arabian Fantasy. Cecilia: A Story of Modern Rome (1902) is a light romance involving Dream fulfilment and possible Reincarnation. [MA]
further reading: An F. Marion Crawford Companion (1981) by John C Moran.
Francis Marion Crawford