Part romance, part thriller, part farce, this story follows Monty Vaughan, bored heir to a fortune, and his old school friend, Steven Denby, whom he encounters in Paris. Monty's desire for excitement leads Steve to invite him to help smuggle a costly pearl necklace through U.S. customs, despite his knowledge that a top Secret Service agent, code-named R.J., has been detailed for a special investigation.
Good characterizations make this a fun read, and even when the plot turns somewhat unlikely, it just comes off as Wodehousian humor. The conclusion, perhaps too heavily foreshadowed, becomes obvious before the novel's end, but that's not enough to spoil things.
A slow, dull story about a Swedish family who take in an Italian baby and bring him up to be a good Protestant. He starts out a good boy and remains one all his life. Nothing especially notable happens.
Three mildly amusing short stories, good for a quick read.
In the best of them, "The Water Goats," a misunderstanding about gondolas vs. angoras has the aldermen of an Eastern town trying to teach goats to swim, but it all turns out to be a shaggy goat story. Some readers may be offended by the depiction of the politicians as graft-taking Irish buffoons.
In "Mr. Billings's Pockets," Mr. B. comes home late with pockets full of suspicious articles and some tall tales for his too-savvy wife. And in "Our First Burglar," a skinflint comes up with an unusual way to burglar-proof his house.
Why are so many 19th- and early-20th-century novels about royalty? I suppose there were more of them around in those days of duchies and principalities, and they drew the kind of interest that today is accorded to pop stars.
Anyway, this long and convoluted novel follows Jack Winthrop, a newspaperman who gets turned down by a society girl and takes a foreign correspondent job to get over it. He's also detailed to try to dry out another correspondent who's been drowning in alcohol his own romantic sorrows over a capricious princess. But once overseas, Winthrop gets mixed up with an uncommon barmaid bearing a curious resemblance to both his lost love and the royal lady.
The plot also brings in an evil prince, an autocratic king, duels, long-forgotten conspiracies and all sorts of melodrama for those who enjoy that sort of thing, but suspension of disbelief becomes difficult to maintain.