s she had looked an indefinite number of years ago. Her age - none knew it, save herself and perhaps one other, and none cared. The gracious and alluring contours of her figure were irreproachable; and in the evenings she was a useful ornament of which any hotel might be innocently proud. Her knowledge of Bradshaw, of steamship services, and the programmes of theatres and music-halls was unrivalled; yet she never travelled, she never went to a theatre or a music-hall. She seemed to spend the whole of her life in that official lair of hers, imparting information to guests, telephoning to the various departments, or engaged in intimate conversations with her special friends on the staff, as at present.
'Who's Number 107?' Jules asked this black-robed lady.
Miss Spencer examined her ledgers.
'Mr Theodore Racksole, New York.'
'I thought he must be a New Yorker,' said Jules, after a brief, significant pause, 'but he talks as good English as you or me. Says he wants an "Angel Kiss" - mar
Today, we have tabloids full of movie stars, sports players, billionaires and people who are famous just for being famous. The celebrities of the 19th and early 20th century were the minor royalty of scores of principalities, duchies and other tiny nations. The literature of the period is filled with them, and this entertainingly silly 1902 mystery/thriller features a pair of princes plus a millionaire for good measure.
Vacationing with his madcap daughter, Nella, Theodore Racksole, the richest man in America, asks for a steak instead of the elaborate table d'hôte at London's most exclusive hotel. The snooty headwaiter declines to fill his order, so Racksole buys the hotel.
Observing his new employees acting suspiciously, Racksole discovers that his purchase comes complete with a nefarious plot by the headwaiter and other hotel workers against Eugen, the young Grand Duke of Posen, who disappeared en route to the hotel. It would never do to let it get out that he's missing, so the Racksoles, with Prince Aribert, heir to the throne, do their own investgating after the prince's equerry winds up dead. Aribert is desperate to keep Eugen healthy and avoid succeeding to the ducal throne, mainly because the Grand Duke must marry a princess, and he's fallen in love with Nella.
Lively and original, this lighthearted mystery/thriller features no attempt to make the intrigue and action seem realistic. "The Grand Babylon" exists in a fantasy world with the works of authors such as Charlotte MacLeod, Lillian Jackson Braun and Janet Evanovich.
Really very good. The story and the characters are unusual, clever and very likeable.
Besides a nicely picturesque plot, you find curious sketches of "European superstition" of the monarchy: sympathetic portraits of its representatives as well as an almost supernatural awe they produce.
The narrative is elegant and fast paced, with interesting descriptive digressions from a very knowledgeable author.
The luxurious ambiences and the singular personages that populate them make the reading a highly enjoyable experience.
An American millionaire buys an exclusive London hotel and with his daughter uncovers international criminal activity. This is an excellent book with very colorful characters.
Very nice! A naif american millionaire and his daughter buy an hotel in London. They will be involved in a story about spy, love, kidnap, royal families,..., and much more. Nella is a beautiful character.
A fun, page-turning mystery.
Wealth, murder, espionage, intrigue. This book has it all. A good read.
I downloaded this to read simply on the grounds that the dish "Omelette Arnold Bennett" was created after Bennett wrote the character "Rocco" in the book, based on the actual chef at the Savoy, Jean Baptist Virlogeux. Though it has to be said that Rocco is none to complimentary a character, Virlogeux created the famous dish in honour of the writer.
Anyway, from omelettes to literature, this is a great little period "caper" about wealthy socialites, murder, kidnapped princes and the like. Well worth reading.
This is great fun. In some strange way it reminded me of a significantly more sophisticated Nancy Drew book, and I don't mean that in a derogative sense. This is a fun mystery. We have the clever American millionaire and his intrepid daughter (Carson and Nancy Drew types for sure) sleuthing for all they are worth in one of the finest European hotels. All kinds of intrigues occur and the adventure is fast and furious. There is even a love interest for the daughter (ala Ned Nickerson) who joins the investigating. It really keeps you turning the pages. Don't misunderstand--it is not a girly book. The mystery is the thing! I really enjoyed it.
An American millionaire buys a prestigious English hotel to find that an international conspiracy is brewing behind its dazzling facade. This is a great mystery/adventure story. Highly recommended.
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