The book begins with Charon, ferryman of the Styx startled--and annoyed--by the arrival of a house boat on his mystical river. At first afraid that the boat will put him out of business, he later finds out that he is to be appointed the boat's janitor. What follows are eleven stories set on the house boat. There is no central theme; each chapter features various souls from history and mythology, and in the twelfth chapter the house boat disappears, seguing into the sequel, Pursuit of the House-Boat.
, not as bright as the Days, but older; and we're poor--that's it, poor--and it's money makes caste these days. If I had millions, and owned a railroad, they'd call me a yacht-owner. As I haven't, I'm only a boatman. Bah! Wait and see! I'll be giving swell functions myself some day, and these upstarts will be on their knees before me begging to be asked. Then I'll get up a little aristocracy of my own, and I won't let a soul into it whose name isn't mentioned in the Grecian mythologies. Mention in Burke's peerage and the Elite directories of America won't admit anybody to Commodore Charon's house unless there's some other mighty good reason for it."
Foreseeing an unhappy ending to all his hopes, the old man clambered sadly back into his ancient vessel and paddled off into the darkness. Some hours later, returning with a large company of new arrivals, while counting up the profits of the day Charon again caught sight of the new craft, and saw that it was brilliantly lighted and thronged with the most
This book does not belong in the Mystery/Crime category. It belongs in Humor/Satire. Various historical figures travel in a houseboat down the Styx and have several comic encounters. Shakespeare has to defend the authorship of his plays, Dr. Johnson is being shadowed everywhere he goes by Boswell, Demosthenes needs to put pebbles in his mouth to speak clearly, etc., etc. This book has no plot. But, some readers may find it to be an amusing diversion.