The Eye of Osiris

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Author: R. Austin Freeman (Clifford Ashdown)
Published: 1911
Language: English
Wordcount: 95,618 / 279 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 73.6
LoC Category: PS
Series: John Thorndyke
Downloads: 10,032
Added to site: 2008.01.13 19647

An Egyptian mystery/thriller, also published under the title The Vanishing Man.

Show Excerpt

er who had thus adorned his habitation--a law-writer perhaps or an author, or perchance even a poet--when I perceived the number that I was seeking inscribed on a shabby door in a high wall. There was no bell or knocker, so, lifting the latch, I pushed the door open and entered.

But if the court itself had been a surprise, this was a positive wonder, a dream. Here, within earshot of the rumble of Fleet Street, I was in an old-fashioned garden enclosed by high walls and, now that the gate was shut, cut off from all sight and knowledge of the urban world that seethed without. I stood and gazed in delighted astonishment. Sun-gilded trees and flower beds gay with blossom; lupins, snapdragons, nasturtiums, spiry foxgloves, and mighty hollyhocks formed the foreground; over which a pair of sulphur-tinted butterflies flitted, unmindful of a buxom and miraculously clean white cat which pursued them, dancing across the borders and clapping her snowy paws fruitlessly in mid-air. And the background was no less won


Average Rating of 4.7 from 7 reviews: *****

Well developed plot and characters. 1902 crime forensics, legal elements and a bit of good page-turning...


This very interesting mystery is excessively interspersed with a romantic interest that distracts from the main threads of the plot. Still a good read, however. The forensic science was presented in an interesting way, although I have no idea as to the scientific correctness.


This was really an enjoyable book. The plot was interesting with the missing person who has a will that is full of twisting clauses that could allow anyone to inherit his estate. This allows the story to point to several people as possible suspects. Add to this the Victorian style romance amid Egyptian archaeological research and you have the makings of a very good story. The plot thickens as the book goes on and towards the end you begin to wonder if the truth will ever get unraveled.

I was able to figure out some of what happened and who did it, but the why part escaped me. This is revealed in the end and makes us to wonder why some people will do what they do for nothing more than greed.

All in all it was a nice book to read.

Allan H. Clark

Ingenious puzzle, good atmosphere, lots of fun to read.

Craig L. Adams

This is my favorite of the mystery novels of R. Austin Freeman (so far!). It's really a fun read. Freeman wrote very much in the tradition of Conan Doyle, so reader who enjoy the Sherlock Holmes stories, will almost certainly like Freeman's Dr. Thorndyke stories. Though Freeman's books are always good, this one stands out as a real Golden Age detective novel classic. I liked everything about it: the ancient Egyptian background, the very victorian romance, the puzzling mystery plot, the whole thing. While much of the unfolding of the investigation depends upon coincidence, and it is hard to imagine, in the end, a murderer going to quit that much trouble - never mind that! This is a ingenious and fun detective novel in the Sherlock Holmes tradition. Very enjoyable and highly recommended. In fact, I would say, if you read only one of the Freeman novels, let this be the one.

R Stephan

Well written mystery in London. It appears the author has produced quite a few forensics stories.


This is the first John Thorndyke mystery I've read, but it won't be the last. It was kind of a cross between Sherlock Holmes and CSI, using the science of the time to solve the mystery. This mystery involved a misssing man, a will with unusual terms, and a discovery of scattered bones. The title refers to the Egyptian ring the missing man wore, and turns up as a clue in the story. Very enjoyable.

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