The Wrong Box (1889) is one of Stevenson's strangest works. Written with his stepson Lloyd Osbourne, it is a masterpiece of black comedy, turning on mistaken identity, the disappearance of a corpse, and several makeshift coffins.
V.S. Pritchett described it as 'a farce that slips down the throat with the nicety of an oyster'; to E.F. Benson it was 'perhaps the most superb extravaganza in the language.'
The Finsbury family has long been involved in a Tontine—a scheme in which subscribers invest money in a fund which then falls to the last survivor. Now there are only two aged uncles between Morris and John Finsbury and their fortune. A railway accident appears to dispose of one; and then the farce begins...
In this eccentric and brilliantly plotted story the authors extended the boundaries of good taste. The Wrong Box perplexed some of its Victorian readers; a century on it is less shocking but the comedy is deft as ever.
Original title: The Wrong Box
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction→ Humor