Feb 22, Evelyn rated it really liked it. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, I described it to a friend as "Little House on the Prairie for grown ups". While I found the dialogue quite stilted and formal, the story was compelling and hard to put down. In my mind's eye I pictured the Werner farm and house exactly like the one belonging to an aunt and uncle of mine. Even though it was the 's, they had no plumbing, and there was a large wood stove in the kitchen, a water pail with a dipper for drinking, an outhouse, cows to milk by hand, I thoroughly enjoyed this story, I described it to a friend as "Little House on the Prairie for grown ups".
Even though it was the 's, they had no plumbing, and there was a large wood stove in the kitchen, a water pail with a dipper for drinking, an outhouse, cows to milk by hand, milk to separate, pigs to feed the slop pail to, a huge garden Coincidentally, this farm from my childhood is located in the same general vicinity as Neudorf, SK.
Where are the editors?? Stilted conversations every last time!! The story needs less words Jun 19, Bonnie rated it it was amazing. This book has two things I love very much. Drama and Canadian History. I had a hard time putting this book down every night as I was drawn into the world of Gustav Werner and his German family. Jeffery provided plenty of believable and enduring characters and plot surprises to keep me turning the pages. The ending of this book left me in such suspense that I had to go out and find the sequel right away.
May 24, Delilah Trenaman rated it it was amazing. This is a great story. I like that it is set in sask. I also like that it is very true to life of what it was like in the early part of the 's. Jan 24, Lori-Ann Prawdzik rated it it was amazing. LOVED this book. I have fallen in love with all of the author's wonderfully developed characters.
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Alice Reidel rated it it was amazing Oct 25, Karleigh Althouse-stevenson rated it really liked it Oct 12, Janice rated it really liked it Jan 24, Albert Sharp rated it liked it Dec 30, Linda rated it really liked it Mar 18, Cherylka rated it it was amazing Sep 14, Janet rated it really liked it Feb 20, Tricia Kuzyk jorritsma rated it really liked it Apr 09, Sandra rated it really liked it Dec 11, Susan Alessandrini rated it it was amazing Jul 02, She does not realise that, thanks to a misinterpreted piece of gossip in a newspaper, the "common people" in question believe her to be either an adulterous wife separated from her husband, or a kept mistress, and are even more dismayed by the prospect of a "fallen woman" next door While it is a less serious work than The Semi-Attached Couple , The Semi-Detached House is a better-written novel: Emily Eden sustains her comedy much more successfully, and though her themes are mostly light, they are consistent.
The result is a minor but charming work, depicting the new friendships available in an evolving society, and offering the encouraging thought that nice people will always find each other. As it turns out, the people next door, the Hopkinsons, are almost exactly as the over-imaginative Blanche pictured themexcept that they are also kind, generous, and entirely likeable. Her own qualms set at rest, Mrs Hopkinson takes Blanche to her heart, mothering her when she needs it most. Around this warmly-drawn central friendship, several romantic relationships are lightly sketched; while when Lord Chester returns, we are offered a welcome portrait of a young married couple very much in love.
There is far more comedy than romance in this novel, however, with Eden again showing her skill at depicting amusingly horrid people: this time, the Baroness Sampson, a determined social-climber who disrupts the narrative's central idyll. The subplot featuring the Baroness's unhappy niece, Rachel, is one of the novel's serious touches. The Semi-Detached House also offers one of the era's most unusual characters in Charles Willis, Mrs Hopkinson's son-in-law, who is at once psychologically complex and perversely funny.
Not, in fact, having cared much for his late wife, Willis had nevertheless turned himself into a monument of grief, crushing everyone else's spirits at every possible opportunity and deriving enormous gratification from his own mental image of himself as inconsolableso much so, that when he finally falls genuinely in love, he hardly knows how to let himself be happy Then Arthur's fond letter came, and after that matters mended considerably. There was the house to show to Aileen, and the garden to investigate, and all sorts of red and gold barges came careering up the river, with well-dressed people, looking slightly idiotical as they danced furiously in the hot sun Blanche had several visitors the first week, and Dulham Lane was, as Janet and Rose had hoped, much enlivened thereby.
But Mrs Hopkinson sat with her broad back to the window, pertinaciously declining to look at all the wickedness on wheels that was rolling by her door. She had found that the plan of shutting her shutters would probably end in a fall down her narrow staircase, so she had told her girls not to look out of the window, that poor Willis had reason to believe that the people next door were not at all creditable; and as Janet and Rose were singularly innocent in the ways of the world, and were always desirous to thwart Willis, and as they were particularly anxious to know whether flounces or double skirts were the prevailing fashion, they resented this exclusion from their only point of observation.
Charlie missed his airings in the garden, and altogether the advent of Lady Chester had thrown a gloom over the Hopkinson circle. When Sunday arrived, a fresh grievance occurred. The Hopkinsons had been allowed to make use of the pew belonging to Pleasance, and that was now occupied by Lady Chester and her sister. The slight bustle occasioned by the attempt to find a seat for Mrs Hopkinson, who was of large dimensions, caused Blanche to look up, and with natural good breeding she opened her pew door, and beckoned to that lady to come in.
She did so, and what with the heat of the day, and the thought of what Willis would say when he saw her sitting next to a lady of doubtful character, who had made a "fracaw in high life," she could hardly breathe Now reading Derelicts by William McFee. The Absentee - 's Act of Union, which created the United Kingdom, served chiefly to highlight and exacerbate existing tensions between England and Ireland over Catholic emancipation, property ownership and parliamentary rule.
Ownership of Irish land by Englishmen who rarely visited their property, but left it to be managed by agents, was already a major point of contention when the abolition of the Irish parliament, and the shifting of Irish governance to Westminster, saw a parallel move on the part of many Irish landowners, who in the search for a social centre abandoned Dublin for London, with disastrous consequences to their neglected tenants. Having already tackled this theme in her blackly comic debut novel, Castle Rackrent , in the Anglo-Irish Maria Edgeworth returned to it in her far more serious work, The Absentee.
The novel focuses upon Lord Clonbrony, an Irish absentee; his social-climbing wife; and their high-principled young son, Lord Colambre. Though Lord Clonbrony would be happy enough to live upon his estates in Ireland, Lady Clonbrony will have none of it. Determined to win her way into London society, she devotes every waking moment and a great deal of money to her campaign, ignoring slights and mockery for her pushing ways, and winning only contempt for her struggle to suppress her natural accent and deny her roots.
Meanwhile, Lord Clonbrony is falling ever-deeper into debt, and the power of the money-lenders. When his parents attempt to address their mutual problems by forcing him into marriage with an heiress, Colambre decides to withdraw from society and travel through Ireland. Not having seen the country of his birth since he was a child, Colambre is able to visit the family estates under an assumed identitygetting to know the tenants, learning of the unchecked power of the agents, and seeing for himself the immense damage done by his father's long absence With a foot in each camp, it was Maria Edgeworth's great hope to bring about a better understanding between the English and the Irish.
She was painfully aware of the extent of anti-Irish prejudice in England, and believed much of it based upon false ideas; but at the same time, she saw where the Irish themselves were at fault. In The Absentee , through Lord and Lady Clonbrony, she shows the worst face of the Irish upper-classes: careless of their responsibilities, taking all from their property and giving nothing in return, and in the case of her ladyship deeply ashamed of being Irish. Meanwhile, Colambre's travels bring him into contact with the best of Irish aristocracy, who are intelligent, cultured and responsible; while, at his father's estates, he discovers that, far from the prevailing stereotype of the lazy and stupid Irish peasant, Lord Clonbrony's tenants are honest, hard-working and courageous, wanting only a fair deal in life.
Likewise, on that part of the family property that has fallen under the power of a corrupt and avaricious agent, suffering is endemic; while that which is under care of a good and honest agent is thrivingor could. When he learns to his horror that the honest agent, Mr Burke, is about to be dismissed because he will not resort to brutal tactics to wring more money out of the tenantry, Colambre knows he must intervene The turn of the 19th century saw the rise of the regional novel, and Maria Edgeworth was one of the most important practitioners of Irish-focused fiction.
Though unabashedly supporting the Irish cause, Edgeworth's clear-sightedness about the faults on both sides of the Irish-English antagonism, and her stringent criticisms of absentee Irish landlords, rescue The Absentee from outright didacticism. Meanwhile, the political aspects of the novel are leavened and balanced-out by subplots dealing with Colambre's romantic travails: his efforts to avoid being compromised into marriage with the heiress, Miss Broadbent; his near-trapping by a pair of fortune-hunting ladies; and his secret love for his penniless step-cousin, Grace Nugent.
The latter may be, finally, the most contentious part of the novel, with Colambre discovering a shameful secret in Grace's family background, and severing himself from her as a consequence. His determination to visit the sins of her mother upon the unerring Grace is unlikely to endear him to modern readers, however much the narrative upholds him. You do very well to go out of the way of falling in love ridiculously, since that is the reason of your going; but what put Ireland into your head, child?
But, after all, I don't see that having the misfortune to be born in a country should tie one to it in any sort of way; and I should have hoped your English edication , Colambre, would have given you too liberal ideers for thatso I reely don't see why you should go to Ireland merely because it's your native country. Lord bless me, what a word! Then, if you are going to look after your father's property, I hope you will make the agents do their duty, and send us remittances Robbery At Portage Bend - The small Saskatchewan town of Portage Bend is rocked by a violent bank robbery, which leaves the bank-guard deadand by the realisation that the victim would only have opened the door to someone he knew well.
The expert opening of the safe suggests the involvement of a professional criminal from the city; while a ruse designed to draw the local Mounted Police away from town to a logging encampment indicates local knowledge. A second murder follows: investigating the scene, Corporal Williams discovers evidence implicating the reckless young Roy Bancroft, whose sister, Joan, he is in love with.
Learning that Roy has left town on a putative trapping expedition, Williams pursues him into the wildernessnot to arrest him, but to warn him This novel by Trygve Lund is technically the fifth book in his series featuring Richard Weston of the RCMP, but Weston - having risen to the rank of Inspector - is sidelined for much of the narrative; though he has an important role to play in the resolution of the plot.
Most of the focus is upon the younger men under Weston's command, in particular Corporal Williams, who finds himself caught between love and duty when it seems that Roy Bancroft may be the murderer. As always, Lund's knowledge of the Canadian wilds, and of the functioning of the Mounties for whom he served after emigrating from Norway , give his novel credibility and, in particular, a genuine sense of place; his love for his twin-themes is evident even when he is describing the most dangerous and physically demanding duties that might fall to a Mountie's lot.
Thus, when Williams decides that the best way he can serve Joan Bancroft is by saving her brother from the consequences of his own actions, the narrative diverts from the town of Portage Bend into a well-sustained and suspenseful description of the young Mountie's lonely journey into the depths of the wilderness, undertaken just as winter is coming to the territory.
Up-river by canoe, then through the woods on foot, across valleys and peaks, Williams is doggedly pursuing the faint smoke that indicates a cabin with a fireplace when a threatened storm breaks. Severely injured by a falling tree, Williams must make a final, desperate effort to find Bancroft's cabin to have any hope of saving his own life The dark, sombre hills and ridges cast heavy shadows on the calm surface of the water below, giving the lake a bleak, forbidding aspect. Only the centre of the lake was bright, where the sun's rays played on the water and made it sparkle and glitter.
It was a wild, desolate region, grim and inhospitable.
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Even the smiling sun failed to soften its austere aspect. There was a brooding hush over the whole scene, which was only broken by the weird, melancholy cry from a loon somewhere out on the lake. On the former occasions when the corporal had visited Swan Lake, he had found the wild scenery grand, almost majestic, in spite of its severity; but now the scene spreading before his eyes seemed sinister, malevolent, almost as if it were impregnated with a threat of evil, and he shuddered a little as if with cold as his gaze swept over the country, and a heavy sense of depression stole over him.
Somewhere up here was Roy Bancroft, and he had to find him, and find him quickly Coincidentally I just finished my read of The Absentee and I liked it a lot more than Castle Rackrent I can see the latter is important but I really struggle to enjoy non-contemporary satire. The issue of Grace's parentage in TA was the only bit I was a bit bemused by - I feel like I'm getting the 19th century mixed up but it was something I thought would be less of an issue in compared to the Victorian period.
And why was it ok for her to marry Mr Salisbury? Was it just because Mr S wasn't a lord? I'm glad you enjoyed The Absentee. I think Colambre's attitude represents the beginning of the "tightening up" of morality, which is certainly something that happened across the 19th century. Edgeworth was a strict moralist herself and therefore would have approved of Colambre's high standards.
And yes, Mr Salisbury's situation would have permitted him to be less "fussy". And it isn't a unique case. Consider, for example, the reaction to Lydia's behaviour in Pride And Prejudice : transgression by one family member "tainted" all the others by association. So Grace is "tainted" by her mother's misconduct, even though she herself is immaculate. These things seem and of course, are brutally unfair; but they were one of the many tactics used to keep women in line. To Gillespie's astonishment, Shrig reveals that he is aware of the secret family history of the Lorings: of the violent, near-deadly quarrel between twin brothers, Humphrey and Nevil; of Humphrey's departure for America; and that Nevil does not, in fact, legally hold the family title and property.
Shrig also knows that, with the death of Humphrey, his son, David, is on his way to England to claim his inheritance. He does not mention, however, that his professional instincts have warned him to keep a close eye on Sir Nevil Loring Shrig tells Mr Gillespie that a mutilated body has been pulled from the Thames, papers found indicating that the dead man was David Loring; and that examination has shown he was strangled.
An evident struggle left certain clues behind which Shrig believes confidently will help him identify the murderer Shrig is still on the waterfront the next morning when he is the target of a murderous assault. He escapes with his life partly because there is a witness, who intervenes: a young man himself badly injured, dirty and dishevelled and, as he confesses to the grateful Shrig, with no memory of who he is or what happened to him Though The Loring Mystery is the third book in the series of historical romances by Jeffery Farnol featuring Jasper Shrig, it is the first to bring the Bow Street Runner front and centre, as a major character, rather than have him intrude tangentially upon the main narrative.
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This choice proves something of a mixed blessing, as Shrig's conversation, a twisted mix of professional vernacular, thieves' cant and Cockey, is rendered in dialect and is a sometimes trying read However, Shrig is otherwise an engaging character, and a intelligent, dedicated detectiveeven if there is something a bit cheaty about the instinct which allows him to identify, a priori , someone destined to be as he puts it himself a Capital Cove.
The Loring Mystery is an odd mix of a novel, blending one of Farnol's typical picaresque romances into a full-blooded murder mystery. After establishing its premise in an opening sequence thatwell, we'll be polite and call it an homage to Dicken's Our Mutual Friend the narrative of The Loring Mystery divides. One-half follows the adventures of young David Loring as he tries, literally and figuratively, to find himself; making friends along the way with a variety of colourful characters, ranging from an imperious but warm-hearted Duchess to a returned convict with a chip on his shoulder, and of course falling in love.
The other half stays with Shrig as he investigates the waterfront murderand as he grows ever-more certain that the wrong man was murdered by mistake When his memory returns, David confronts his uncle with his true identity, only to be spurned with scorn and threats when he is unable to prove it. David is determined to stay in the neighbourhood of the Sussex property, however, both in hope of finding a way of proving his case, and because - very much against his will - he has fallen in love with Sir Nevil's beautiful but reckless and passionate young ward, Cleaupon whom Sir Nevil has designs of his own, despite the disparity in their ages.
When Shrig follows David into Sussex, it is because he fears for the young man's life; but he soon has a different case on his hands when Sir Nevil is murdered, stabbed in the throat with a knife that David, upon discovering the body, recognises as Clea'sand so removes and conceals. However, Sir Nevil was a deeply hated man, and there is no shortage of alternative suspects. As Shrig investigates, the matter takes an even more sinister turn, with various locals insisting that they have seen Sir Nevil's ghost Lord love me!
Here's Sir Nevil Loring, Baronet, thanks to the perwerseness o' Fate, been an' got 'isself murdered and give me the slip only just in the werry nick o' time He ought to ha' dieddifferent, pal! You understand me, I think? Possible murderers is a-popping up on every 'and, con-tinual, and motives is everywhere The Medusa Touch - When obscure novelist John Morlar is savagely beaten to death, his head almost obliterated, the case falls to Inspector Cherrywho is therefore a witness to the impossible when it is discovered that despite appearances, and against all medical knowledge, Morlar is still alive As Morlar continues to confound the experts by holding on in intensive care, his brain activity contradicting his extreme physical injuries, Cherry continues to pursue what is no longer, technically, a case of murder, but which has captured his imagination.
His investigation leads him both into the secret reaches of government, where Morlar was viewed with fear and suspicion for his understanding of a corrupt and dangerous society, and to Morlar's therapist, Dr Zonfeld, who reveals to Cherry what brought Morlar to him: his belief that he had the power to bring about disaster This horror novel by Peter Van Greenaway has its points of interest, but ultimately its faults outweigh them.
The overriding one is its style: while John Morlar's voice dominates the narrative, which builds in a series of flashbacks to the night of the murderous assault, there is too little distinction made between that voice and those of the supporting characters; so that it can be difficult, at any given moment, to keep track of who is speaking.
Since Morlar favours a distinctly grandiloquent style, this lack of individuality becomes rather absurd.
The issue is exacerbated when, one by one, the supporting characters begin to agree with Morlar's nihilistic views, too. Peter Van Greenaway evidently believed, in the early 70s, that Britain was going to hell in a hand-basket; the political sections of the novel, which deal with corruption and plots and government conspiracy, become tiresome in their ceaseless drum-banging. On the other hand, the slow unfolding of Morlar's personal narrative remains intriguingeven if it requires as did many horror and science fiction novels at the time a straightforward acceptance of paranormal abilities such as psychokinesis.
Assuming, at first, that Morlar is a man suffering a profound delusion, Dr Zonfeld is slowly forced to accept that the litany of disaster and death that has marked Morlar's life is no mere coincidence, but his own doing: the result of a terrible power that he has learned to controland to focus In , The Medusa Touch was turned into a film which, truthfully, isn't very good either, but improves upon the novel thanks to a remarkable cast and a delightfully unsubtle central performance from Richard Burton; piling disaster upon disaster, it finally crosses the line from horrifying to perversely amusing.
However, I should add a caveat : one of the disasters in question has a plane flying into a building. This is graphically rendered in the film, and may be too much for some potential viewers. Zonfeld nodded, but cautiously. His every action appeared to stem from a careful consideration of consequences. A statement that could mean anything or nothing. Cherry waited, not wanting to spoil the effect Zonfeld insisted on creating.
It meant nothing and Cherry kicked himself for daring to hope. But he sought for and found the one fact worth salvaging. A corner of his mouth twitched visibly. How much of a patient's mental deformity transferred itself to the man in charge? Initials Only - Passing by the Clermont Hotel, the attention of Mr and Mrs Anderson is caught by a tall and striking-looking manand by his strange behaviour, as he kneels to, it seems, wash his hands in the snow before disappearing into the night A sudden outcry at the Clermont draws the Andersons back; and when they learn that a young woman is dead, apparently murdered, they feel that they must tell what they know Now retired, very elderly and unwell, former New York police detective Ebenezer Gryce is still called in occasionally when a particularly baffling murder occurs; though he now leaves all the leg-work to his young protege, Caleb Sweetwater.
And the case of Edith Challoner is as baffling as any the detectives have encountered. The cause of death is found to be a narrow, penetrating wound that reached the heart. It is thought at first that Edith was shot, but no bullet is found in the body. She must, therefore, have been stabbedbut no weapon is found at the scene; while Edith died in an open space in a wide room, with several witnesses insisting that no-one came near her before she collapsed This novel by Anna Katharine Green, the 12th in her series featuring Ebenezer Gryce and the 6th to feature Caleb Sweetwater, is a fascinating work.
This is not to say it is entirely credible: Green rarely was, being given more to melodrama and sensation that to the careful construction of a mystery; but it takes a highly unusual approach for the time of its writing. When Green introduced Caleb Sweetwater in her mystery, Agatha Webb , she included a detailed psychological portrait of the young man, showing how his need to be a detective stemmed from certain kinks in his make-up this, a good twenty-five years before Dorothy Sayers was supposed to have pioneered such writing, in the character of Peter Wimsey. Here, she reverses the process and gives us instead an intense and not-unsympathetic portrait of a criminal.
The investigation into Edith Challoner's death reveals that she was involved in a secret love-affair with a man who signed his letters with his initials only, "O. The testimony of the Andersons leads the police to Orlando Brotherson, a brilliant engineer-inventor who also, albeit under a false identity, dabbles in social protest and the rights of the working-class. Brotherson coolly admits to writing the threatening letter; he further admits to being in the Clermont at the time of Edith's death; but he denies going anywhere near her, as witnesses can prove.
Unable to explain it any other way, an inquest rules Edith's death a suicide - concluding that she stabbed herself, then somehow pulled out and threw away the weapon, which somehow hasn't been found. Certain that his daughter would never have killed herself, and deeply suspicious of the arrogant Brotherson, whose attitude is one of defiance rather than innocence, the grieving Mr Challoner hires Sweetwater to prove that it was murder.
When he learns that a second woman, a poor washerwoman living in rooms near to Brotherson's, died under the same circumstances as Edith, Sweetwater agrees, undertaking a dangerous undercover mission in order to get close to Brotherson. To his own surprise, Sweetwater soon finds himself developing a genuine admiration for the undoubted brilliance and intelligence of the man. At the same time, he grows more and more certain of Brotherson's guilteven as he begins to fear that he will never be able to prove it Had the sleeper under the influence of a strain of music indissolubly associated with the death of Miss Challoner, been so completely forced back into the circumstances and environment of that moment that his mind had taken up and his lips repeated the thoughts with which that moment of horror was charged?
Sweetwater imagined the scenesaw the figure of Brotherson hesitating at the top of the stairssaw hers advancing from the writing-room, with startled and uplifted handheard the musicthe crash of that great finaleand decided, without hesitation, that the words he had just heard were indeed the thoughts of that moment. What she received was death! Had this been in his mind? Would this have been the termination of the sentence had he wakened less soon to consciousness and caution?
Sweetwater dared to believe it. Was it he who was dreaming now, or was the event of the night a mere farce of his own imagining? Mr Brotherson was whistling in his room, gaily and with ever increasing verve, and the tune which filled the whole floor with music was the same grand finale from William Tell which had seemed to work such magic in the night. As Sweetwater caught the mellow but indifferent notes sounding from those lips of brass, he dragged forth the music-box he held hidden in his coat pocket, and flinging it on the floor stamped upon it.
What am I to do now? But I find "Con-seqvently here's me diddled by Fate most crool Turns out my library has the film! I'll have to look into it. That's not my own cover of The Medusa Touch , which was a lot more boring: I've got what I'm pretty sure is an unjustified soft spot for the film; I'd like to hear an unbiased opinion. Yesterday was another 'running between libraries' day. Bailey and After Rain by Netta Muskett.
I got a plain cover for the latter. I was kind of hoping for this one; you all know how much I enjoy stories about red-haired waifs!
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And such a weird thing to advertise in a book, unless the plot of The Shadow on the Mockways turns on the suspect's suspiciously white teeth. It's a Depression-era edition, though, so I imagine that it was a way of subsidising publication. For a time, Mr. Between the two, it gives an interesting picture of the customers the company were targeting. People of intelligence and taste, obviously! Well, I like it. I have no problem understanding how it stayed on the air for 18 years. I just wish there were more surviving episodes available.
I have yet to read the source novel, Robert W. Heya Liz - long time no thread visit! I'm back LTing again and have been trying to slowly catch up on things, lurking about threads with my detestable red hair :P. How lovely to have you here again: on LT and on this thread.
It must be me: I'm currently in the middle of yet another hero changing his mind about the heroine's hair! Observation: that woman had issues. Now reading Mr Fortune Speaking by H. Place ads on the backs of books, that is. I find it surprising, but I guess things moved a lot more slowly back in the those days :.
Another Megan visiting! How lovely. Crooked House - Charles Hayward's post-war reunion with Sophia Leonides, the woman he hopes to marry, is disrupted by the death of her grandfather; worse is to come, as Sophia tells Charles that Aristide Leonides was murderedhis eye-drops having been substituted for the insulin of which he took regular injections.
Sophia uses an expression that Charles does not understand - "If the right person did it" - but when, at the behest of his father, who is Assistant Commissioner at Scotland Yard, Charles uses his connection with Sophia to play "inside man", he realises what she meant. Aristide's two grown sons, Roger and Philip; their wives, scientist Clemency and actress Magda; Magda and Philip's three children, Sophia, teenage Eustace and twelve-year-old Josephine; and Aristide's sister-in-law from his first marriage, Edith de Haviland, all lived with the old man. So too did his much-younger second wife, Brenda, and the children's tutor, Laurence Brown.
Charles soon grasps the situation: the family wants the murderer to be Brenda, or Laurence, or both of them; but they don't really believe that it is This mystery by Agatha Christie is an unusual work for its time, for a number of reasonssome of which we can safely discuss, and others which musn't be touched upon. Ultimately, Crooked House is as much a psychological thriller as it is a conventional mystery, with the solution to the puzzle to be found in the personalities and temperaments of those who reside in what Charles Hayward comes to think of for more reasons than one as "the crooked house".
Since everyone in the household knew thanks to an open conversation between Aristide and his younger granddaughter how dangerous the eye-drops were, and since everyone likewise had access to both the drops and the old man's insulin, the question is not one of opportunity, but motiveand psychology. The other unusual aspect of this novel is the "split-vision" way in which the narrative is presented. The story is presented from the perspective of Charles Hayward who, like so many before him, reacts to coming into contact with murder by turning amateur detective; but the fact is that - unlike so many before him - he's not very good at it.
In the words of a much more talented detectiveCharles sees , but he does not observe. The reader, while seeing events through Charles's eyes, must work around his misapprehensions. As the investigation proceeds, possible motives for the crime begin to emerge: Roger's business failure and consequent embezzlement; Philip's pathological jealousy; Clemency's passionate desire to sever the bond between her husband and his father.
However, when letters written between Brenda and Laurence come to light, which suggest a love affair and seem to hint at murder, suspicion swings back to its starting-pointuntil it is learned that Aristide Leonides has willed his entire fortune to Sophia, and that she knew he had done so Meanwhile, Charles is growing increasingly worried about young Josephine, who is not only "playing detective" herself, but has taken to boasting loudly about her discoveriesinsisting that she knows who the murderer is, and will soon be able to prove it.
Of course, this might all just be a silly game; but on the other hand, Charles knows that with her spying and eavesdropping, Josephine may really have discovered somethingand when there is an attempt on the child's life, he knows that someone else believes that she has They're stupid. They thought Brenda had done itor Laurence.
I wasn't stupid like that. I knew jolly well they hadn't done it. I've had an idea who it was all along, and then I made a kind of testand now I know I'm right. I prayed to Heaven for patience and started again. I dare say you're extremely clever" Josephine looked gratified. Don't you see, you little fool, that as long as you keep your secrets in this silly way you're in imminent danger? One attempt nearly did for you. The other has cost somebody else their life. Don't you see if you go on strutting about the house and proclaiming at the top of your voice that you know who the killer is, there will be more attempts madeand that either you'll die or somebody else will?
This is Three Gables, Swinly Dean, and you're a silly little girl who has read more than is good for her! Was Agatha having a go here at S. Van Dine, I wonder? Ruth Fielding Down East; or, The Hermit Of Beach Plum Point - While recovering at home from her physical and mental war-time trauma, Ruth Fielding returns to her profession of writing scenarios for the movies, which she undertakes in the summer-house in the grounds of the Red Mill.
She has just completed what she considers her best work when a violent storm breaks, and she must take shelter in the house. Afterwards, she discovers that her scenario and her notebooks - even her special gold pen - have disappeared. With not a single page to be found, Ruth is unable to believe that her work simply blew away.
She is sure that it was stolenand when she hears that an itinerant actor has been begging his way around the neighbourhood, she has a suspicion of who did it However, Ruth remains in low spirits, unable to shake off the blow of her stolen work; until her friends begin to worry about her state of mind Though, with Ruth's return from France, Ruth Fielding Down East likewise returns to the usual story set-up of holiday good times - "down east" being, to these Upper New York State-ers, Maine - this entry has dark undertones not generally found in this cheerful young adult series, in which the preceding war-stories were a necessary anomaly.
Having bravely held it all together during her war-service, we see the lingering effects of Ruth's time in France all through this short novel. Usually a model of level-headedness and even temperament, the loss of the work into which she put so much time and effort - and from which she was anticipating a significant financial return - is more than Ruth can deal with.
Though she joins her friends on their travels, she is unable to shake off her depression, even though she knows she is spoiling things for the others. Worse is to follow: not only must she confess her loss to Mr Hammond but, when reading through a pile of other scenarios submitted to him, when she comes across what she believes to be a rewritten version of her own story, she is unable immediately to prove it; her determination to do so becoming an obsession While this grim plot-line runs throughout the narrative, Ruth Fielding Down East does contain the usual fun and adventures, and also finds Ruth shaking off her funk long enough to come to the rescue of a girl being brutally mistreated by her employer: finding her an alternative place to live and work while she waits for word of her long-absent actor-father.
Meanwhile, Ruth and Tom investigate the minor mystery of the "hermit of Beach Plum Point", who lives in an isolated shack near the site of the movie production, and who has been given "character" work by Mr Hammond. When Ruth discovers that this so-called "hermit" rented the shack just before the movie people arrived, she is sure he is a fraud; and when she learns that he is the author of the pirated scenario, she becomes certain that he is something much worse Ruth did not add anything to this discussion.
Her interview the evening before with Mr Hammond regarding the matter had left Ruth in a most uncertain frame of mind. She did not know what to do about the stolen scenario. She shrank from telling even Helen or Tom of her discovery. It was a strange situation, indeed. She thought of the woman she had found wandering about the mountain in the storm who had lost control of both her nerves and her mind, and Ruth wondered if it could be possible that she, too, was on the verge of becoming a nervous wreck.
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Had she allowed her mind to dwell on her loss until she was quite unaccountable for her mental decisions? Practical as Ruth Fielding ordinarily was, she must confess that the shock she had received when the hospital in France was partly wrecked She shuddered even now when she thought of what she had been through in France and on the voyage coming back to America. She realised that even Tom and Helen looked at her sometimes when she spoke of her lost scenario in a most peculiar way Still reading Mr Fortune Speaking by H.
Reeve turned his screenplay for the previous year's serial, The Exploits Of Elaine , into a book in his series featuring the scientific detective, Craig Kennedy. The transition was not a smooth one. As its title indicates and as its casting of Pearl White in the role underscores , in the serial the focus was upon Elaine who, after her father is murdered, hires Craig Kennedy to help her unmask the mysterious criminal known as "The Clutching Hand", and plays an active role in the investigation.
In his novelisation, however, Reeve twists the story so that it is presented from the perspective of Kennedy and his reporter-sidekick, Walter Jameson: it is Kennedy who takes the lead in the hunt for The Clutching Hand, with Elaine reduced to a mere damsel-in-distress, her "exploits" consisting of her walking into obvious traps over and over, and needing to be rescued.
The narrative itself is entertaining enough, if not for a moment credible, with Kennedy pitting his various scientific inventions against The Clutching Hand's elaborate criminal ventures and his spectacular range of death-traps.
However, the literally episodic nature of the serial just doesn't work on the page: though presented, for the most part, as a first-person narrative, Reeve is forced to include various third-person cutaways to let the reader know what the criminals are up to, and this jerky back-and-forth makes it hard for the reader to stay engaged. Furthermore, though this may not have been so evident as a one-chapter-a-week serial, on the printed page it is only too obvious that i it is physically impossible for the person eventually unmasked to be The Clutching Hand, and ii that after the compromising papers held by her father are found and destroyed, there is no reason for The Clutching Hand to go on targeting Elaine, let alone make that or so it seems his entire focus.
But then, he obviously has way too much time on his hands: at one point he forges Kennedy's fingerprints, apparently just as a way of thumbing his nose. Though not one of his era's traditional "woman-haters", the intellectual Kennedy has always been depicted as impervious to female charms even though every other woman he meets is "one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen", according to Walter Jameson ; but he falls for Elaine like a ton of bricksresulting in the wholly unedifying spectacle of The Great Detective mooning through the narrative like a lovesick puppy, and neglecting his work in favour of hours of gazing soulfully at Elaine's framed photograph.
Without another word Kennedy passed into the drawing room and took his hat and coat. Both Elaine and Bennett followed. Elaine looked at him anxiously. He must have felt the confiding pressure of her hand, for as she paused, appealingly, he took her hand in his, bowing slightly over it to look closer into her upturned face. Elaine did not withdraw her hand as she continued to look up at him.
Craig looked at her, as I had never seen him look at a woman before in all our long acquaintance. Yet Jimmie does have a code of sorts: he draws the line at violence, selling out his partner, Big Sam, after the latter commits murder and earning Sam's undying enmity ; and at the end of The Trail Of Fear , he sacrifices himself to ensure the safety of hiswell, let's be polite and call her his "girlfriend".
When The Secret Trail opens, Jimmie has just been released after a two-year stretch in prison. He is on his way to a restaurant in Soho, to meet with one of the higher-ups in a gang involved in what he takes to be art-theft, when a man staggers out of a nearby lane and collapses at his feet, clutching at his ankles. With a couple of others, Jimmie helps move the man from the rain-soaked street to some shelter; it is not until then that he sees the bloodand realises that the second man who emerged from the alley, fussing over his "drunk" friend, was probably not an innocent passer-by The next day, Jimmie is questioned by a Secret Service man, who explains obliquely that something has fallen into "the wrong hands" and asks urgently about any dying words.
Jimmie is unable to help; but later, when he finds that the dying man tucked a scribbled message about "the Murchison sighter" into the cuff of his pants, he recalls a newspaper article about the crash of an R. Volume 80 , Issue 1. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account.
If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username. Keith Laybourn Search for more papers by this author. Tim Rees Search for more papers by this author. Tools Request permission Export citation Add to favorites Track citation. Share Give access Share full text access. Share full text access. Please review our Terms and Conditions of Use and check box below to share full-text version of article.
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