The Talleyrand Maxim

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Author: J.S. Fletcher
Published: 1920
Language: English
Wordcount: 71,096 / 205 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 58.6
LoC Category: PR
Downloads: 10,511
Added to site: 2005.03.06 9926

"A crackerjack mystery tale; the story of Linford Pratt, who earnestly desired to get on in life, by hook or by crook--with no objection whatever to crookedness, so long as it could be performed in safety and secrecy."--Knickerbocker Press.

Show Excerpt

the wasted hand which had dropped helplessly at his side. He had evidently died without a sound or a movement--died as quietly as he would have gone to sleep. Indeed, he looked as if he had just laid his old head against the padding of the chair and dropped asleep, and Pratt, who had seen death before, knew that he would never wake again. He waited a moment, listening in the silence. Once he touched the old man's hand; once, he bent nearer, still listening. And then, without hesitation, and with fingers that remained as steady as if nothing had happened, he unbuttoned Antony Bartle's coat, and drew a folded paper from the inner pocket.



As quietly and composedly as if he were discharging the most ordinary of his daily duties, Pratt unfolded the document, and went close to the solitary gas jet above Eldrick's desk. What he held in his hand was a half-sheet of ruled foolscap paper, closely covered with writing,


Average Rating of 4.3 from 6 reviews: *****

A great story, a clever and complexe plot with a bit of romance.
Strong and industrious characters that always have some last trick to try on
their adversaries.
Probably, the best of the author. I've read another book of him, a clever story but dully narrated, and downloaded this one almost by mistake, without recognizing the name, and while in this one the narrative is just acceptable, the rhytm is so much better and some twists of the intrigue
are impressive.

Leah A. Zeldes

An opportunistic law clerk finds a means of blackmailing a newly wealthy woman. Will he get away with it?

Not quite either a thriller or a procedural, this crime novel is nevertheless one where the reader knows all and waits to see whether the characters will find out. It also suffers from the lack of a strong central character.

That said, it reads well, and the ending comes as a bit of a surprise.


One of the best crime novels I have found on this site. Not really a "mystery", as the crimes are clearly portrayed. The four-way game between the intelligent criminal, peripheral criminals, pursuers, and victims is brilliantly written. I agree with the "6 star" comment, this book really stands out.


If I could give this one 6 stars I would. It was good from beginning til the end.


Good, fast-paced crime story that's not a "whodunit" but a "will he be found out?" kind of tale. The characters were interesting, too. Worth reading.


This story centres on a missing will - the inheritance goes to the nearest relations of a factory owner after he and both witnesses are killed in an accident, but the will later turns up, and is found by the Linford Pratt mentioned in the blurb above. I’m usually not very keen on books that reveal the criminal’s identity, but I enjoyed this, even though there were a few holes in it. It has romance, intrigue, money and murder - good ingredients for a crime (if not exactly mystery) novel.

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