Though Scottish-born author Margaret Oliphant dabbled in a remarkable number of literary genres over the course of her career, critics and fans alike agree that some of her most abiding contributions were her tales of fantasy, science fiction, and the supernatural, many of which broke new ground in their time. A Beleaguered City blends elements of fantasy and science fiction, and the end result is an astonishingly compelling read. Margaret Oliphant (4 April 1828 – 25 June 1897), was a Scottish novelist and historical writer, who usually wrote as Mrs. Oliphant. Her fictional works encompass "domestic realism, the historical novel and tales of the supernatural". In the 1880s she was the literary mentor of the Irish novelist Emily Lawless. During this time Oliphant wrote several works of supernatural fiction, including the long ghost story A Beleaguered City (1880) and several short tales, including "The Open Door" and "Old Lady Mary". Oliphant, during an often difficult life, wrote more than 120 works, including novels, books of travel and description, histories, and volumes of literary criticism.