(1893-1968) US author and editor, brother of the writer Ethel Owen. He wrote 10 mildly salacious novels in the 1930s as Roswell Williams, sometimes listed erroneously as his real name. FO is best-known for mannered tales of the Orient (see Oriental Fantasy). The House Mother (1929) and Rare Earth (1931) are only marginally fantastic, and The Scarlet Hill (1941) has no supernatural element at all, but the fabular stories in The Wind that Tramps the World: Splashes of Chinese Color (coll 1929) and The Purple Sea: More Splashes of Chinese Color (coll 1930) are mostly fantasies of a delicately charming kind. Several, including the Femme-Fatale story "The Tinkle of the Camel's Bell" (1928), had earlier appeared in Weird Tales, where FO had made his debut with "The Man who Owned the World" (1923); others, including Pale Pink Porcelain (1929 chap), were subsequently reprinted there. There is less fantasy in Della Wu, Chinese Courtezan, and Other Oriental Love Tales (coll 1931) and A Husband for Kutani (coll 1938), but the latter includes "Doctor Shen Fu", about a Chinese alchemist who possesses the Elixir of Life. Shen Fu features also in "For Tomorrow We Die" (1942), "The Man who Amazed Fish" (1943) and "The Old Gentleman with the Scarlet Umbrella" (1951). Although FO continued publishing in WT and elsewhere until 1952, few stories appearing after 1938 or featuring non-Oriental settings have been reprinted; all but two of the stories in The Porcelain Magician (coll 1948) are drawn from earlier collections.
FO co-wrote several children's collections with his wife, including Coat Tales from the Pockets of the Happy Giant (coll 1927), The Dream Hills of Happy Country (coll 1928), Windblown Stories (coll 1930) and The Blue Highway (coll 1932). Ethel Owen's solo works include The Pumpkin People (1927) and Hallowe'en Tales and Games (coll 1928). [BS]
other works: Madonna of the Damned (1935) as Roswell Williams; Lovers of Lo Foh (1936) as Williams.
as editor: Murder for the Millions: A Harvest of Horror and Homicide (anth 1946); Fireside Mystery Book (anth 1947); Teen-age Mystery Stories (anth 1948).