Reviews by Carlo

The Box with Broken Seals

by E. Phillips Oppenheim

An interesting and unpredictable espionage yarn, following the (several) protagonists from America to England (and beyond). One has to appreciate gentlemanly society, although it is not quite as central to the story as in some of Oppenheim's other novels, with the cat-and-mouse plot dominating things. Also is notable for not having casual period bigotry or imperialist references inserted into the text, which occasionally mars other works by the author.

As more of an ensemble cast, the characters are perhaps not as individually gripping or detailed as in comparable Oppenheim stories, but are developed well enough and have interesting things to do. Worth the read.

Reviewed on 2011.12.30


by Anonymous

Cute little story/morality tale appropriate for and understandable by kids. Only read it because of the name similarity, to be honest.

Reviewed on 2011.12.30

The Amethyst Box

by Anna Katharine Green

This actually contains two stories, the main one (The Amethyst Box) is novelette length, with a short story (The Ruby and the Caldron) following it.

Both fall into the category of "gentlemanly mysteries" in a high society setting, although the stories are completely different. The writing and characterizations are well done, especially in comparison with other works of this genre during the same time period. In particular, the author creates dramatic tension without being too overblown (by the standards of the day).

The ending of the main story wasn't completely satisfying, but it was still well worth reading. The short story was surprisingly entertaining for me and a nice example of the genre, which is really more about the character relationships, although some clever twists are included.

Reviewed on 2011.08.28


by Elizabeth Kent

This is one of those novels that is not quite sure what it wants to be. It has rather uneven elements of mystery, gentlemanly adventure, and espionage fiction. The ending felt rather abrupt to me and didn't mesh particularly well with the rest of story, some aspects of which were interesting and featuring sympathetic characters. Not really worth the time for me, although it wasn't terrible.

Reviewed on 2011.07.19

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