Except for its characters and plot, this book is not a work of the imagination. The methods which the fictitious Trant -- one time assistant in a psychological laboratory, now turned detective -- here uses to solve the mysteries which present themselves to him, are real methods; the tests he employs are real tests. Though little known to the general public, they are precisely such as are being used daily in the psychological laboratories of the great universities -- both in America and Europe -- by means of which modern men of science are at last disclosing and denning the workings of that oldest of world-mysteries -- the human mind.
side?" inquired the president.
"Yes, it is a spring lock," Trant answered.
"And he had been burning papers." The president pointed quietly to the metal tray.
Dr. Reiland winced.
"Some one had been burning papers," Trant softly interpolated.
"Some one?" The president looked up sharply.
"These ashes were all in the tray, I think," Trant contented himself with answering. "They scattered when I opened the windows."
Joslyn lifted a stiletto letter-opener from the desk and tried to separate, so as to read, the carbonized ashes left in the tray. They fell into a thousand pieces; and as he gave up the hopeless attempt to decipher the writing on them, suddenly the young assistant bent before the couch, slipped his hand under the body, and drew out a crumpled paper. It was a recently canceled note for twenty thousand dollars drawn on the University regularly and signed by Dr. Lawrie, as treasurer. But as the young psychologist started to study it more closely, President
The first two cases are well thought but the narrative is slow and somewhat clumsy. Then the author gets more adroit and the cases grow more complex and intricated.
The main idea is to search for the criminal not by the prints he leaves but by the prints the crime leaves on him.
All in all, I enjoyed it greatly: the situations are curious at the least, but the psycological exploration is original.
That's a book not easily forgotten.
Psychologist Trant has access to the very latest neurological research, and uses it to gain insight into clients and suspects. The author seems to have done his research and not filled the book with too obviously junky science. (Given the book came out in 1910.)
Mike Grost gave a thumbs up to one of the stories in this collection, "The Man Higher Up." That's reason enough to try this.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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