Fergus Hume delights in the complex. On the part of the reader it requires a great deal of attention to follow the peculiar actions of his characters. There always are detectives more or less clever who figure in this author's romances. The master rascal never is wanting. Mr. Richard Pratt is the genius of thieves. To his other capabilities of the skeleton key and jimmy kind he adds that of being a collector of rarities. He has stolen a cup, said to be old Roman, and, being a generous scoundrel, he presents the cup in lieu of a chalice to a church in Calchester, and Calchester is a little out-of-the-way English town. Because no one is likely to live in prosy Calchester, it is there that Pratt establishes himself in a queer old house--and he furnishes his abode with the nice pictures and the antique furniture he has stolen. The plot of the story depends on the purloining of the cup or chalice, for Leo Haverleigh, a rather weakminded young man, is believed to have stolen it.
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