The Master Detective gives us the result of "Some Further Investigations of Christopher Quarles," who seems to be Mr. Brebner's Sherlock Holmes, and who has a Watson of a sort on the detective force of Scotiand Yard. In this connection we must not forget Zena, Professor Quarles's granddaughter, whose "foolish questions" so frequently point to solutions of the various mysteries unravelled by the trio. In the volume fifteen of these mysteries become mysteries no longer when Professor Quarles is through with them. The stories are quite entertaining and their solutions are sufficiently startling to warrant our reading each one to a finish. It is indeed this very quality of unexpectedness that furnishes the ground for the only adverse criticism of the story.
heir was a nephew, the son of a much younger brother who had gone to Australia and died there. This nephew had not been heard of for a long time, and as soon as he became the heir, Sir John advertised for him in the Australian papers. There was no answer, and the Yorkshire Rusholms, who are poor, expected to inherit. Then at the very time when Sir John was on his death-bed news came of the nephew. He had been in India for some years, had proposed there, had married and had a son. There had been so many lives between him and the title that he had thought nothing about it until a chance acquaintance had shown him the advertisement in an old Australian paper. He wrote that he was starting for England at once, but Sir John was dead when he arrived. That is how Sir Grenville came into the property."
"Was his claim disputed?" asked Zena.
"Oh, no, there was no question about it. He had family papers which only the nephew could possibly have, and you may depend the Yorkshire Rusholms would have found a
An irregular book, that to the end changes from just acceptable to good.
The first eight chapters (out of fifteen) narrate very plain, moderately complicated detective cases, none of them original.
The main disappointment are the characters, most of them defined either as ordinary people or gentlemen, they just have names, but no personality.
All is very dry in those chapters, the text is practically a script yet to be made in a narrative.
From the chapter IX on you get good characters, better plots, some curious
observations and the telegraphic style results in convenient concision
securing a fast and enjoyable action.
These are interesting stories in their way. The puzzles are ingenious, and as you would expect that means the solutions are sometimes a bit contrived (this happens in a lot of mystery stories, to be fair). The writing style creaks somewhat, a hundred years after they were written, but that doesn't get in the way of enjoyment. I do find myself re-reading these tales, so yes, they are appealing.
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