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The Lamp in the Desert, which Ethel May Dell published in 1919, was made into a silent film in the year 1922. Directed by F. Martin Thornton and produced by what was then the low-budget film company C.B.C. (and later became more famous as Columbia). The film was British-made, and shot in Algiers. The Lamp in the Desert featured Gladys Jennings as Stella Denvers, a British woman living in India. Not long after she weds Captain Ralph Dacre, he mysteriously disappears. A strange prophet comes and informs her that Dacre is dead. All along, Captain Monck has loved Stella, and now that she is a widow, they marry. Unfortunately, it turns out that Dacre is still alive...!
Ethel M. Dell (1881 - 1939) was a British writer of over 30 popular romance novels and several short stories from 1911 to 1939. Ethel Dell worked on a novel for several years, but it was rejected by eight publishers. Finally the publisher T. Fisher Unwin bought the book for their First Novel Library, a series which introduced a writer's first book. This book, entitled The Way of an Eagle, was published in 1911 and by 1915 it had gone through thirty printings. Her debut novel is very characteristic of Ethel M. Dell's novels. There is a very feminine woman, an alpha male, a setting in India, passion galore liberally mixed with some surprisingly shocking violence and religious sentiments sprinkled throughout. While readers adored Ethel M. Dell's novels, critics hated them with a passion; but she did not care what the critics thought. She considered herself a good storyteller - nothing more and nothing less. She continued to write novels for a number of years. She made quite a lot of money, from 20,000 to 30,000 a year, but remained quiet and almost pathologically shy.