Sir Gilbert Edward Campbell, 3rd Bt., was born to an aristocratic Irish family living in England. He attended Harrow and entered military service shortly after graduation. He eventually served as an officer in the Indian Rebellion of 1857. In 1870, he married Esther Selina Baynham, and the couple had one son. Financial troubles forced him to leave the army, and he began working as a translator, producing cheap editions of the works of French writers, including Victor Hugo. He also wrote a number of so-called shilling shockers, such as Stung by a Saint (1890), and was a frequent contributor
to anthologies of short stories, including The Mystery of Mandeville Square, published in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1888. Sir Gilbert served as the editor of Lambert’s Monthly from 1890 to 1891 and published a handful of sensational novels, including The Vanishing Diamond (1890) and A Ruby Beyond Price (1891). In 1892, he was discovered to have been running bogus literary and art agencies, which offered fake diplomas and promises of publication or art exhibitions, in exchange for cash. The agency had scammed mostly amateur writers, who paid for their manuscripts to be read and published only to find later that the company had closed its doors. Sir Gilbert and his collaborators were sentenced to prison at hard labor, and he was given a particularly harsh sentence of 18 months because of the ways in which he had used his aristocratic title to inspire trust in his victims. After his release from prison, Sir Gilbert appears to have slipped into obscurity, dying some time around 1899.