Archive for the ‘1900s’ Category

Not my dust jacket, but the one that my tattered red hardcover would have had when it hit the book shops.

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy ~ 1905. This edition: Hodder and Stoughton, 1950. Hardcover. 256 pages.

Do I really need to give a whole lot of details here? This one of those books which (almost) everyone knows the plot of, if not by actual reading then by osmosis through publicly shared cultural literacy.

Here’s an economical précis, from Oxford University Press:

Sir Percy Blakeney lives a double life in the England of 1792: at home he is an idle fop and a leader of fashion, but abroad he is the Scarlet Pimpernel, a master of disguise who saves aristocrats from the guillotine. When the revolutionary French state seeks to unmask him, Percy’s estranged, independent wife, Marguerite, unwittingly sets their agent on her husband’s track. Percy’s escapades, and Marguerite’s daring journey to France to save him from the guillotine, keep the reader turning the pages of Baroness Orczy’s well-paced romantic adventure.

No prizes for guessing that Sir Percy survives the attempt to bring him down, with his final escape being due 100 percent to his amazing skill at disguise (of a broad variety, but most successfully as a “loathsome Hebraic”, which, though it sounds dreadful in quotes, is actually more of a shot at 1700s’ French prejudice than at the Jewish population of France), which has aided him in his escapades to pull off his daring rescues. Marguerite is merely a bit of background decoration, as it were. The menfolk (Sir P and his team of fellow sporting English noblemen) have things well in hand from start to finish.

This book is thoroughly dated in style, but it has retained its status for over a hundred years as a pretty good romp of an adventure tale. I find it rather heavy on the superlatives, myself. Sir Percy, public persona that of a “demmed idiot” – stupidest man in England – is the most fashionable as well as the richest nobleman in his coterie, while Lady Blakeney, formerly a French actress, is widely touted as the most beautiful woman in her crowd, as well as the most fashionably dressed and the “wittiest woman in Europe”.

We have The Scarlet Pimpernel to thank for all sorts of tropes in subsequent popular fiction, as he flicks the priceless Mechlin lace of his cuffs out of his way when getting down to business disguised by his bipartite persona, all hooded eyes, telling glances, and double entendres.

I quite happily read The Scarlet Pimpernel a number of times in my school years, always experiencing a frisson of vicarious passion when the noble Sir Percy Blakeney kisses the ground whereupon his desperately misguided wife has just trodden, shortly before he heads off to risk his life to rescue another batch of French aristocrats from the guillotine, with a cold-hearted agent of the French government hot on his heels, primed with damning information provided (all unbeknownst to Sir P) by Lady Blakeney herself.

Reading this some decades later as a much more judgemental adult, I found the love scenes to be more humorous than romantic; a certain cynicism has obviously developed with my years.

This is worth reading as a period piece, and for a glimpse at how an early 20th Century popular fiction writer pulled off an 18th Century historical fiction. The Baroness Orczy certainly had an enthusiastic pen, and a keen sense of what would appeal to her readers, not to mention her audience of theatre lovers. The Scarlet Pimpernel started life as a play staged in 1903; the stunningly popular novelization followed.

A number of not-quite-so-well-known sequels followed. The Scarlet Pimpernel itself has never been out-of-print since its publication. Ridiculously easy to find secondhand, and available online through Gutenberg, along with oodles of other Orczys.

My rating: 7/10

 

 

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What Every Woman Knows by J.M. Barrie ~ 1908. This edition: University of London Press, 1954.  Hardcover. 128 pages.

A bit of a departure from the norm of my usual reading  this one is, in that it is an annotated stage play script versus a novel. But as it represents the cultural scene of its time, I am presenting it here as a suitable item for inclusion on the Century list.

Abandon all sense of plausibility, please. We are entering J.M. Barrie’s fantastical theatrical world.

Maggie Wylie, plain but highly intelligent daughter of a well off Scottish family – Wylie and Sons operate the local granite quarry – is facing her spinsterhood with sober equanimity. She knows her chances of marriage are lessening year by year, and as she has reached her twenty-seventh birthday without attracting a suitor, the writing is on the wall.

She occasionally privately mourns her state of singleness, and her adoring but undemonstrative father and brothers wish they could find some way to fulfill her secret wish for a husband of her own.

Enter John Shand, a poor but intelligent (though not as bright as Maggie) university student, who has taken to breaking into the Wylies’ house at nights to read the otherwise untouched books in their large purchased-for-show library. The Wylies have twigged to the fact that they have a nocturnal visitor, and they lie in wait one night, catching John in the act.

John is rather grumpy at being apprehended, but being of a serious and literal nature (and incidentally completely without a sense of humour) he sturdily defends himself by stating that they have the books, he needs them, so what’s the big deal?

Well, the Wylies are rather taken aback by this attitude, but as John continues to lay down the law (according to him) regarding the unfairness of a world where a studious young man is at the mercy of his desperate financial situation, a glimmer of an idea begins to appear.

Sending Maggie off to brew the tea, the Wylie menfolk propose the following to John Shand. If they will promise to finance his university education, will he promise, at the end of five years, to marry Maggie? (If she wants to, that is. She gets “first refusal”, as it were.) Well, Maggie comes in to the conversation part way through, and after some to-ing and fro-ing, the bargain is struck.

*****

Five years later, we find Maggie married to John, who has acquitted himself well in his studies, and is now setting his sights on a political career as an MP. Though he doesn’t love Maggie in the traditional sense – it was a business arrangement, after all – he behaves quite decently to his wife, and she in turn behaves more than decently to him, helping him with his speeches, and, unrealized by him, gingering them up somewhat in the process of her typing them out (John is smart but not overly bright, if you catch my meaning) with the result being that he comes across as someone perhaps a bit more intellectually lively than he actually is.

John is essentially humourless; he’s a bit of a plodder; his ideas of romance are just as soberly conventional as his speaking manner, and he falls into a predictable scenario in regards to his wife. As he ascends the ladder towards political prominence, he starts to look at his dowdy little Maggie with some dismay. Wouldn’t a younger, prettier, more vivacious wife suit his new stature better? Someone like the charming Lady Sybil, perhaps? – who is everything Maggie is not.

Except smart enough to write good speeches, upon which the denouement of this little story lies.

So what does every woman know, according to Mr. Barrie?

Well, she knows and quite happily accepts (this is where the fantasy element really kicks in) that behind every successful man, there is a clever but utterly self-effacing woman, who expends all her best efforts in making her masculine appendage look good while refusing to push herself forward. Her reward in this is the knowledge that she has helped him to his rightful place in society, even though her efforts are not recognized as they would be if her guy were a bit brighter and fairer in assessing her contributions to his social and career ambitions.

This is supposed to be a comedy, and it does have its funny moments – the author quite lets himself go with some occasionally rather sly and witty “Scotsman” jokes throughout – but my reaction was of restrained enjoyment, as the premise of the whole thing jarred rather with present day notions of gender equality and suchlike.

An interesting period piece, let us say. And as such, an appropriately restrained personal rating. I’m giving it a 5/10 – a bare pass – though if experienced as a stage play I might well rate it higher, depending upon the actors’ skill at fleshing out Barrie’s script.

 

 

 

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Anna the Adventuress by E. Phillips Oppenheim ~ 1904. This edition: Ward, Lock & Co., circa 1904. Hardcover. 318 pages.

The girl paused and steadied herself for a moment against a field gate. Her breath came fast in little sobbing pants. Her dainty shoes were soiled with dust and there was a great tear in her skirt. Very slowly, very fearfully, she turned her head. Her cheeks were the colour of chalk, her eyes were filled with terror. If a cart were coming, or those labourers in the field had heard, escape was impossible.

Two lovely and nearly identical-in-appearance English orphans are living in an apartment in Paris. One is the volatile, pleasure-loving and risk-taking Annabel (see above: she’s just escaped a car crash she’s caused, leaving behind what she thinks is a dead man), the other is Anna, a strictly virtuous and self-denying art student.

When Annabel inadvertently has a chance to escape the consequences of her rake’s progress in Paris by marrying an English lord who thinks she is her virginal and sedate sister, Annabel grabs it with both hands, leaving Anna to step into her place. Anna, hoping that this über-respectable marriage (not to mention access to wealth and luxury) will help Annabel reform her wicked ways, staunchly takes upon herself all the messy loose ends her sister has left so suddenly behind.

These include the not-quite-dead man of the car accident, who turns out to have some astonishing claims upon the sister he thinks is Annabel, not to mention a whole string of handsome, fast-living English gentlemen who obviously are on rather intimate terms with Sister A, to the hidden (and not so hidden) shock of Sister B.

Realizing that she will never make a successful artist – her talents are genuine but not outstandingly so – Anna (as Annabel) decides to return to England, where her presence causes immediate issues with her sister’s masquerade, as Annabel’s (er, fake Anna’s) uptight noble husband (the wedding went off as planned) objects to his wife’s supposedly disreputable sister hanging about.

Our Anna, unable to attain employment as a shop girl, is reduced to appearing on the London stage, for though she is only an average painter, she’s an accomplished singer, much to her sister Annabel’s jealous dismay, as Anna steps into a role Annabel first initiated back in Gay Paree.

Real Anna proves herself up to it all, dealing with firm hand and cool brow everything that confronts her: overly familiar ex-boyfriends (of real Annabel’s), life in a boarding house (her respectable relatives have rejected her), the difficulties of making a living (she is utterly penniless), and setting to rights complications which the fake Anna manufactures as she starts to return to her old Annabellish ways.

Luckily, real Anna is as truly good as she is beautiful, and soon collects a devoted retinue of handsome young men, who serve to assist her in her endeavours, stopping every so often to bend a knee and propose. Anna rejects them all, very politely, of course, and goes on her rather lonely way, fixing the things that Annabel has ruined in the past, and mitigating the actions of her thoughtless and sometimes resentful sister as she kicks against the social expectations attendant upon her new place in life.

Will Annabel settle down? (And say a proper “Thank you” to her ever-sacrificing sister? And confess her past to her husband?)

Will Anna ever allow herself to love? (And get rid of that pesky “pseudo husband” who haunts her steps? And erase her dodgy adopted reputation and regain her proper place in society?)

Read it and see!

This is a hugely enjoyable period piece, for all of the expected reasons: almost-impossibly wonderful heroine (who is flawed enough to be likeable), high society snobbery, loads of action as the various men in Anna’s circle rally round in her (sometimes literal) defense, and all sorts of misunderstandings.

The language is lush, the plot deliciously ornate, the ending…well…let me just say that E. Phillips Oppenheim wrote over one hundred very popular thrillers from the 1880s till the 1940s, and he knew what his readers liked, and what they liked was the traditionally happy ending after a whole lot of adventuring.

Anna the Adventuress delivers.

My rating: 8/10. (Two whole points lost because of the too-adorable, deeply soppy, baby-kissing scene at the end of this first edition, cropped from later editions and in my opinion vastly improving the story by its absence.)

Just so you know, I adore Edward Phillips Oppenheim, and own a formidable stack of his books (nowhere near all of them, though), and I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve written up one of his dramatic romance-thrillers. He may pop up again, as I fill in the difficult gaps in this latest Century of Books; he’s one of those handy book-a-year (sometimes two!) writers, though as is usual with the ultra-prolific, the quality can vary.

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The First Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells ~ 1901. This edition: W. Collins Sons & Co., 1901. Hardcover. 254 pages.

This was a first for me: one of H.G. Wells science fiction/fantasy novels.

I’ve read a few of his “straight” novels: The History of Mr Polly and Mr Britling Sees It Through, and quite liked them though they were fairly run of the mill, reminding me of J.B. Priestley’s Bright Day and similar “ordinary man” novels.

This one, however, was nothing like those ones. It’s pure sci-fi, in its founding form.

Mr. Bedford is a young(ish) businessman who has run into severe financial difficulties. His solution to bankruptcy is to retreat to the country to write a play, which would doubtless be instantly successful, as first plays by non-writers usually are. (Yes, I’m joking, as is Wells throughout this frequently humorous novel.)

Here:

It is scarcely necessary to go into the details of the speculations that landed me at Lympne, in Kent. Nowadays even about business transactions there is a strong spice of adventure. I took risks. In these things there is invariably a certain amount of give and take, and it fell to me finally to do the giving reluctantly enough. Even when I had got out of everything, one cantankerous creditor saw fit to be malignant. Perhaps you have met that flaming sense of outraged virtue, or perhaps you have only felt it. He ran me hard. It seemed to me, at last, that there was nothing for it but to write a play, unless I wanted to drudge for my living as a clerk. I have a certain imagination, and luxurious tastes, and I meant to make a vigorous fight for it before that fate overtook me. In addition to my belief in my powers as a business man, I had always in those days had an idea that I was equal to writing a very good play. It is not, I believe, a very uncommon persuasion. I knew there is nothing a man can do outside legitimate business transactions that has such opulent possibilities, and very probably that biased my opinion. I had, indeed, got into the habit of regarding this unwritten drama as a convenient little reserve put by for a rainy day. That rainy day had come, and I set to work.

I soon discovered that writing a play was a longer business than I had supposed; at first I had reckoned ten days for it, and it was to have a pied-a-terre while it was in hand that I came to Lympne. I reckoned myself lucky in getting that little bungalow. I got it on a three years’ agreement. I put in a few sticks of furniture, and while the play was in hand I did my own cooking. My cooking would have shocked Mrs. Bond. And yet, you know, it had flavour. I had a coffee-pot, a sauce-pan for eggs, and one for potatoes, and a frying-pan for sausages and bacon—such was the simple apparatus of my comfort. One cannot always be magnificent, but simplicity is always a possible alternative. For the rest I laid in an eighteen-gallon cask of beer on credit, and a trustful baker came each day. It was not, perhaps, in the style of Sybaris, but I have had worse times. I was a little sorry for the baker, who was a very decent man indeed, but even for him I hoped.

So Mr. Bedford, incipient playwright, quite soon makes the acquaintance of Mr. Cavor, scientist-inventor, who is working on a project to develop a gravitationally neutral material. When it becomes apparent that Cavor’s invention  is successful, Bedford is quick to scent the possibilities of sharing in the potential profits (as yet undetailed) of such a unique material, and he partners with Cavor in the enterprise.

Cavor’s ideas are large and scientifically ambitious. With his anti-gravity material – cavorite – the sky is (literally) the limit. He has apparently also been mulling over the logistics of building a vessel to travel through space, and this he immediately puts into production, with Bedford his cooperative though bemused assistant.

Finally, the spaceship is completed.  It’s a round, glass-lined, ball-shaped object, sheathed in moving panels of cavorite which will ingeniously allow steering, landing, etcetera, outfitted with all of the needs for space travel, not detailed by Wells, who merely assures us that the travellers will have every want provided for. And so they do.

For Cavor wants to go to the moon, in the interests of pure science, and he convinces the reluctant Bedford to come along with the tempting thought that perhaps the moon will yield valuable materials for export back to Earth. “Science!” cries Cavor. “Vast profits!” thinks Bedford, and off they go.

I shan’t go into detail of what they find on the moon, or how their adventures continue. I will merely tell you that the moon proves to be mostly hollow, full of tunnels and chambers and passages, with a huge subterranean ocean at its core, and it is inhabited by ant-like beings who live on the flesh of fungus-grazing “mooncalves”.

Oh, yes. There is also gold.

After some adventuring, Bedford and Cavor inadvertently part ways, with Bedfor returning to the space vessel, and “accidentally” (is it or isn’t it?) triggering its relaunch back to Earth, leaving Cavor at the mercy of the ant-people.

Now Bedford feels kind of bad for poor Cavor, but he quashes remorse and gets on with his own affairs, helped along by the large quantity of pure gold he has luckily managed to bring back with him.

Imagine then his surprise to find that Cavor is sill alive on the moon, and has been cared for by the Selenites/Moonies, and has crafted a wireless device capable of broadcasting details of moon-life back to Earth. And then, faintly and fading fast, comes a message concerning an intended invasion…

<Cue foreboding music.>

Did I like this book?

Hmmm.

Parts of it were fun, but in generally I have to say no, not entirely. It was well written and often drily humorous, but I soon found myself slightly bored with it, and instead of poring over every word I found myself skimming the very detailed descriptions of lunar flora and fauna and the inner workings of the anthill, as it were.

H.G. Wells undoubtedly had an ingenious sense of invention, and I am happy to give credit where it’s due, but I personally found this tale a bit of a slog. I don’t think I’ll be diving into any of his other sci-fi fantasias anytime soon, though I think I’d be open to more mild exploration at a later date, if ever the occasion arises. (Such as needing to fill a year on the Century of Books, for example.)

His other, more conventional novels are much more to my taste, and I will happily continue to broaden my acquaintance with those as opportunity allows.

So. The First Men in the Moon.

My rating: 5.5/10

 

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Frontispiece showing Peter, Bobbie and Phyllis waving away at a passing train. The Charles Edmund Brock drawings of the original Edwardian edition are utterly charming, and if seeking out an edition for yourself or for gift-giving, I highly recommend finding one of the numerous “deluxe replica” versions.

The Railway Children by E. Nesbit ~ 1906. This edition:  Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., Ltd., exact date unknown. Illustrated by C.E. Brock. Hardcover. 184 pages.

They were not railway children to begin with. I don’t suppose they had ever thought about railways except as a means of getting to Maskelyne and Cook’s, the Pantomime, Zoological Gardens, and Madame Tussaud’s. They were just ordinary suburban children, and they lived with their Father and Mother in an ordinary red-brick-fronted villa, with coloured glass in the front door, a tiled passage that was called a hall, a bath-room with hot and cold water, electric bells, French windows, and a good deal of white paint, and ‘every modern convenience’, as the house-agents say.

There were three of them. Roberta was the eldest. Of course, Mothers never have favourites, but if their Mother HAD had a favourite, it might have been Roberta. Next came Peter, who wished to be an Engineer when he grew up; and the youngest was Phyllis, who meant extremely well.

When Father mysteriously disappears one evening after a loudly uncomfortable meeting in the drawing-room with two mysterious men, the tamely predictable lives of Roberta (aka Bobbie), Peter and Phyllis are stood upside down. All sorts of dreadful changes take place, culminating in a removal to a country cottage situated close to a busy rail line, “for the time being”, leaving all of the nicest things back in their city house.

Adventures immediately ensue, as the children learn their new surroundings, figure out how best to help Mother with making do, and eventually endear themselves to pretty well everyone they meet, including an elderly and distinguished Gentleman-on-the-Train, which turns out to be a very good development indeed.

I am of two minds regarding this well-beloved tale. On one hand it is dreadfully sentimental, with everything working out much too good to be true. On the other hand, it’s utterly adorable and even reasonably relatable, as our three young protagonists get into all sorts of difficult situations and muddle around quite realistically before getting things sorted out.

Every time I read it – and I find this has happened quite a number of times, which tells you something right there, doesn’t it? – I start out by telling myself it’s all a little too good to be true, and then I abandon myself to the charm and end up at the end all sniffly with emotion.

Because of course there is an absolutely soppy happy ending.

My rating: hmmm…how about a nice 7.5/10?

Because while it’s perhaps one of the best known, subject of who knows how many adaptations and film versions and such, it’s not my absolute favourite E. Nesbit novel. That one is probably Five Children and It, because I do enjoy a nice time travel tale, especially if incorporating a cranky mythical creature. Or possibly The Treasure-Seekers? Well, any of the Bastable family stories, really.

Or?

An expanded E. Nesbit re-read might well be in order. Maybe after Christmas. We’ll see. Or perhaps during the spring busy-season, when the lightest of fares is in order for those few bedtime minutes of reading time before the eyelids drop down.

P.S. This is a post regarding a book read way back in July, so you don’t need to think that I’m reading-reading-reading morning through night lately. Just playing catch-up for the Century project, and working on condensing my posts (somewhat), because so often I do tend to ramble on, and self-editing is a goal which tends to elude me… 🙂

 

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Anna of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett ~ 1902. This edition: Penguin, 1991. Paperback. ISBN: 0-14-018015-X. 236 pages.

Nothing else was possible. She who had never failed in duty did not fail then. She who had always submitted and bowed the head, submitted and bowed the head then. She had sucked in with her mother’s milk the profound truth that a woman’s life is always a renunciation, greater or less. Hers by chance was greater.

Anna Tellwright, repressed and reclusive elder daughter of a stern and quietly wealthy Methodist elder who has invested wisely and well in various concerns in the china-making Staffordshire Potteries region of Stoke-on-Trent (commonly known as the Six Towns region; Bennett reduced these to Five Towns in the interests of titular appeal), has just turned twenty-one.

With that milestone passed, things start to happen for Anna all in a swoop.

She is informed by her father that she has just come into the fortune left by her deceased mother, which by his efforts has multiplied stupendously.

She acquires a courter, one Henry Mynors, an up and coming businessman who is attracted to Anna for her virginal purity, her moral worth, her modest but genuine beauty, and her undoubted skill at housewifery. (There is a telling passage in which Henry fulsomely admires Anna’s spotless kitchen and loudly congratulates himself on his upcoming acquisition of such a thrifty and cleanly wife.) The prospect of a handsome dowry adds to Anna’s appeal, though to give Henry credit he isn’t absolutely focussed on that aspect; it’s just a lovely bonus, as it were.

She is confronted by the demands of her religion to make a public avowal of salvation, which she finds impossible to carry through with, being of a deeply private and almost morbidly shy disposition. (Religion – in particular Methodism – plays a large role in this novel.)

She in invited to partake of a holiday trip to the Isle of Man, and leaves her hometown for the very first time in her life. Anna proves herself equal to the demand put upon her to enter into society and to dabble in “normal” life, something up until now beyond her modest comprehension.

She finds the courage to defy her father in redeeming an embezzler who has been driven to that crime by his harsh orders.

She receives and accepts an exceedingly suitable offer of marriage, and shortly thereafter realizes her love for another deeply unsuitable man, who she renounces without a qualm, having already given her word to the prior suitor.

All of this takes place while the rattle, crash and mechanical hum of the Potteries goes on day and night, and the inhabitants of that vast industrial complex scuttle about their various businesses, and the miser broods and berates, and his meek daughters – Anna and small half-sister Agnes – inch their ways towards the modified freedoms of their futures…

Inspired by Balzac’s similarly themed 1833 novel, Eugénie Grandet, Arnold Bennett produces an ambitious and occasionally melodramatic portrait of the people and places he knew very well indeed, being himself a child of the Potteries until his departure for London as a young man and his subsequent establishment as an author.

Bennet described this novel as his “sermon against parental tyranny”, and it is all of that. Though Anna renounces the elusive call of “true love”, she does advance towards an essential form of self-development beyond the restrictions imposed upon her by her emotionally brutal father; we have even higher hopes for her younger sister Agnes, who may just accompany Anna out from under the sternly repressive paternal influence.

The detail in Anna and the Five Towns is rich and engrossing. Its passages are heavy with description, and the thing is loaded with deeper meanings. It serves as a multi-layered depiction of a particular time, place and mindset equal to anything Bennett’s compatriot Thomas Hardy produced.

Perhaps not to everyone’s taste – it is an undoubedtly “dated” sort of novel – but I found a lot to appreciate in this accomplished production of its time.

My rating: 8/10

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the-slave-of-silence-fred-m-whiteThe Slave of Silence by Fred M. White ~ 1906. This edition: Ward, Lock & Co. Hardcover. 252 pages.

My rating: 3/10

I regret to say that this highly improbable romantic melodrama was, despite its non-stop action, one of the most deeply boring things I’ve come across in recent years. Suitable for shelf adornment, perhaps, but not for actual reading. Just goes to show that some antique books are irredeemably blah, much as we are willing to reconcile old-fashioned, era-expected styling with contemporary interest level.

A beautiful young woman is forced into an appalling marriage with a wealthy scoundrel in order to save her father from disgrace (he’s been speculating financially with other people’s money and has come a major cropper) and the vows are just pronounced when the wedding is interrupted by the announcement that Dear Dad has been found dead.

Is she really married? Or not? It was all a blur – the shock, you know…

And when the paternal body disappears before a postmortem can be performed, things become very convoluted indeed.

Enter a crippled criminal mastermind in a wheelchair, a mysterious Lady in Grey (the Slave of Silence herself, that would be), a couple of interchangeable Scotland Yard/Senior Army Officer investigative chaps, the true lover of our confused heroine wandering about in various disguises, doors conveniently left open while key plot points are being discussed by the bad guys…you name it, this one has it.

I’ll save you reading it. The most villainous of the multiple villains all end up tidily (or messily, in at least one case) dead, and true love prevails.

A disappointing book by a potentially interesting writer, and despite my “Run away!” recommendation for this particular work, I think I may someday look a little further into Fred M. White.

Old-style sci-fi “Doom of London” disaster novels ring any bells? Our Fred was the writer of those, and I must admit my curiosity is piqued. Couldn’t be worse than this one, right? Right?!

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