Reviews by Leah A. Zeldes

The Mystery of the Green Ray

by William le Queux

At the start of World War I, Ron Ewart is on the brink of enlisting. He is making a farewell visit to Myra McLeod, his fiancée, in the Scottish Highlands when she is suddenly and mysteriously blinded in what appears at first to be a freak accident, but isn't what it seems. As Ron, Myra and friends delve into the strange events, the McLeod's neighbors behave oddly. Are they to be trusted?

Fast moving and cleverly plotted, this short thriller brings in elements of mystery, science fiction and espionage. While the general area where the solution lies becomes obvious fairly soon, the details will keep you guessing.

Reviewed on 2014.08.31

The Bramleighs of Bishop's Folly

by Charles James Lever

Though not quite so weighty, Lever's amusing comedy of manners has elements of the humor and societal commentary that characterize Austen, Trollope and Wharton, with a touch of the puckishness of Dickens. The Bramleighs, a wealthy family of social-climbing "Cits," as high society would have called them, fall on hard times when their right to their estates is challenged. Each member of the family reacts differently from the extravagant second wife to the practical young daughter, as ruin and scandal faces them. There's nothing too deep here, but it's a fun read, with a mystery thrown in for good measure.

Reviewed on 2014.06.16

Many Kingdoms

by Elizabeth Jordan

Very charming short stories, most with a psychological bent, but all quite different. I wish there were contemporary publications showcasing stories like these. It seems as if -- except for genre fiction -- short-story writing has become a lost art. I'm going to look for more of Jordan's work.

Reviewed on 2014.04.19

The Diary of a Nobody

by George and Weedon Grossmith


"Why should I not publish my diary? I have often seen reminiscences of people I have never even heard of, and I fail to see--because I do not happen to be a 'Somebody'--why my diary should not be interesting. My only regret is that I did not commence it when I was a youth.

"

So Charles Pooter of The Laurels, Brickfield Terrace Holloway, commences his journal. A somewhat stuffy but very human senior clerk in an undescribed business, Pooter likes nothing better than to putter around his suburban home -- perhaps because of his ability to make high drama of trivial circumstances, and get himself into humiliating (and often very humorous) situations in front of other people.

I suspect this comic novel told in diary format will seem tame and rather dry to some modern readers, but to me it holds just much interest as the daily updates from some of my Facebook friends. Recommended.

Reviewed on 2014.03.31

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