The Investigations of Simon Iff

Aleister Crowley’s Simon Iff Stories

Many readers who encountered Simon Iff in the pages of Moonchild do not know about the other stories which feature this occult detective, magician, mystic and psychologist. These stories will appeal especially to fans of other occult detective fiction, such as the stories of Algernon Blackwood’s Dr. John Silence, Bram Stoker’s Dr. Van Helsing, Dion Fortune’s Dr. Taverner as well as fans of X-files, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; and, pulp favourites such as Seabury Quinn’s Jules de Grandin, Sâr Dubnotal, and Robert E. Howard’s Steve Harrison.

The Scrutinies of Simon Iff
6 stories

These stories were written in Dec 1916, published in The International using the pseudonym Edward Kelly. Read about the writing of these stories in chapters 78, 83 and 84 of The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.

  1. Big Game (published in The International XI 9, Sep 1917)
  2. The Artistic Temperament (published in The International XI 10, Oct 1917)
  3. Outside the Bank’s Routine (published in The International XI 11, Nov 1917)
  4. The Conduct of John Briggs (published in The International XI 12, Dec 1917)
  5. Not Good Enough (published in The International XII 1, Jan 1918)
  6. Ineligible (published in The International XII 2, Feb 1918)

The Butterfly Net / Moonchild

Simon Iff next appears in Moonchild, which novel, although published in 1929, was begun after the first 6 stories, as The Butterfly Net, in 1917.

Simon Iff in America
12 stories

Read about the writing of these 12 stories in Chapter 85 of The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.

  1. What’s in a Name?
  2. A Sense of Incongruity
  3. The Ox and the Wheel
  4. An Old Head on Young Shoulders
  5. The Pasquaney Puzzle
  6. The Monkey and the Buzz-Saw (Annotated)
  7. A Dangerous Safe Trick
  8. The Biter Bit
  9. Nebuchadnezzar
  10. Suffer the Little Children
  11. Who Gets the Diamonds?
  12. The Natural Thing To do

Simon Iff Abroad
4 stories 1

  1. Desert Justice
  2. In The Swamp
  3. (Missing)
  4. The Haunted Sea Captain

Simon Iff, Psychoanalyst
2 stories 2

  1. Psychic Compensation
  2. Sterilized Stephen


Scrutinies of Simon Iff



1: The Wikipedia entry for Simon Iff says there are 6 stories in this collection, but so far there are only three stories available.

The actual source for this claim, although not given, may be Starr’s introduction to The Scrutinies of Simon Iff. Starr claims that there are “six stories, of which four were actually written” in the ‘Simon Iff Abroad’ collection, but none of the missing titles or references to verify the claim are given.

However, in reference to the titles of the stories after the initial six in the ‘Scrutinies of Simon Iff’ collection, the Yorke Collection Catalogues at the Warburg Institute offer:

“OS L13

2 binders of loose sheets

Simon Iff typescript

(a) ‘Simon Iff in America’: 1. What’s in a Name? 2. A Sense of Incongruity. 3. The Ox and the Wheel. 4. The Old Head on Young Shoulders. 5. The Pasquaney Puzzle. 6. The Monkey and the Buzz-Saw. 7. The Dangerous Safe Trick. 8. The Biter Bit. 9. Nebuchadnezzar

(b) ‘Simon Iff in America’: 10. Suffer the Little Children. 11. Who Gets the Diamonds? 12. The Natural Thing to Do.

‘Simon Iff Abroad’: 1. Desert Justice. 2. In the Swamp. 3. missing 4. The Haunted Sea Captain

‘Simon Iff, Psychanalyst’: 1. Psychic Compensation 4. Sterilized Stephen

[Mic 243 + 266pp]”

This reference shows that there is one, and only one, missing title in the Abroad collection. Interestingly, the numbering on the Psychoanalyst collection silently skips two numbers. This could be a typo or it could indicate that there are two stories missing in this fourth collection. If one were to add the missing and skipped numbers, one might come to the conclusion that there were three stories left unaccounted for across the entire corpus.

2: Starr also suggests there may have been plans for additional stories at some point, planned or written, in the ‘Simon Iff, Psychoanalyst’ collection by saying “only two stories extant”. Perhaps this claim is due to the skipped numbers in the Yorke catalog. However, the numbering on this page has been simplified to avoid skipping numbers.


The generous proofreading and editing by G. M. Kelly, working from the typescripts, must be credited as the most common source for the appearance and availability online of the stories from the America, Abroad and Psychoanalyst collections.