The Wrong Box (novel)

The Wrong Box

First edition cover
Author Robert Louis Stevenson
Lloyd Osbourne
Country Scotland
Language English
Genre Black comedy
Publisher Longmans,Green & Co.
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 283

The Wrong Box is a black comedy novel co-written by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, first published in 1889. The story is about two brothers who are the last two surviving members of a tontine.

The book was the first of three novels that Stevenson co-wrote with Osbourne, who was his stepson. The others were The Wrecker (1892) and The Ebb-Tide (1894). Osbourne wrote the first draft of the novel late in 1887 (then called The Finsbury Tontine), Stevenson revised it in 1888 (then called A Game of Bluff) and again in 1889 when it was finally called The Wrong Box. A film adaptation, also titled The Wrong Box, was released in 1966, and a musical in 2002.


Literary significance and reception

Rudyard Kipling, in a letter to his friend Edmonia Hill (dated September 17, 1889), praised the novel:

I have got R.L. Stevenson's In the Wrong Box and laughed over it dementedly when I read it. That man has only one lung but he makes you laugh with all your whole inside.


The Wrong Box was filmed in 1966 starring Michael Caine.[1] The novel was also adapted as a stage musical in 2002, and a studio cast recording of the show was released in August 2013.[2]


  1. Robert Louis Stevenson Derivative Works
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