The story had a nicely conceived plot that successfully delivered the ironic twist that it promised from the beginning. The writing style required a higher reading level, which is nice. At the end of the story, take note that it hints at (but never says) who Rouletabille's parents are, which goes toward explaining some of his behavior toward the principals.
Over-all, I give it one less than the full five stars only because the explanation of the mystery, though clever, is highly improbable. Still an enjoyable read, though.
Pinkerton's novels have a remarkable value, in that they show how detectives tracked down their targets without all of the technological advances that we have, today. The method, though placed somewhere near the time of Sherlock Holmes, is very practical and down-to-earth. After reading this, I realized what a bunch of fantasy-driven tripe that Sherlock Holmes really is!
The Expressman and the Detective involves a tremendous supply of detectives, surrounding and befriending the suspects, edging out all other friends, until eventually the truth is ascertained with a prosecutable certainty.
George MacDonald has a clever way of presenting a series of short stories as a larger tale, by making it a story about a story-telling club. The larger tale is tame enough and realistic enough, that I found myself wondering as to whether it might really be nonfiction. The tales within the tales are sometimes MacDonald's famous fairytails and sometimes a shadow of his own life.
Over-all, the plot wasn't terribly exciting. Still, it was free, and it made a good read when I needed something to do. Of course, this is only volume three of three. Readers should start with the first volume, naturally. I chose this volume to write a review, because it was the one that annoyed me the most. For some reason, it was plagued with a bad case of runaway italics. This made for a difficult read.
This was, perhaps, the most enjoyable of Chesterton's works that I have read. I say this after having read every fiction of his available on this site.
Manalive is a tale about what it means to live like a child. Chesterton explores his own world, as though looking at it for the first time. In this, I find the storyline both amusing and inspiring. I discovered that much of what I need for happiness is already in my grasp. Too much of the best things in life have been lost to convention, and too many of the greatest wonders in life are routinely ignored. That is the essence of this book. The protagonist is a madman, or perhaps he is the only sane person left in the world. The reader must decide.