Out of a Labyrinth

Cover image for


Author: Lawrence L. Lynch (Emma Murdoch Van Deventer)
Published: 1885
Language: English
Wordcount: 90,997 / 274 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 74.7
LoC Category: PZ
Downloads: 1,746
Added to site: 2012.02.27
mnybks.net#: 31347

to my room.

Locking my door and lighting a tallow candle--the widow objected to kerosene in sleeping rooms,--I opened my letter.

It was brief, very, containing only these words:

CHRIS OLLERN--As you call yourself, unless you wish to disappear as effectually as did Nellie Ewing and Mamie Rutger, you will abandon your present pursuit. A word to the wise is sufficient.

Here was an astonisher, and here was also a clue. I was betrayed, or discovered. But the enemy had showed his hand. I had also made a discovery.

There was an enemy then; there had been foul play; and that enemy was still in the vicinity, as this letter proved.

It was a wily enemy too; the letter would betray nothing as regarded identity. It was printed; the letters were smooth and even, but perfectly characterless. It was a wily enemy, but not quite a wise one, as the sending of such a letter proved.

I did not leave my room again that night, but sat for hours thinking.

The next morn


Average Rating of 4 from 2 reviews: ****
Leah A. Zeldes

This absorbing novel follows a pair of city detectives unraveling several small-town mysteries: The disappearance of two young women, horse thefts, a grave robbery and the shooting of a local doctor. The characterizations are good, the style very readable and the mystery well-plotted.

It's sad that the works of Lawrence L. Lynch are forgotten. She wrote more than 20 detective novels, some of them excellent. Only a few of them have been put online.

Lynch was the pseudonym of Emily Van Deventer (née Murdock, Jan. 16, 1853–May 3, 1914) of Oswego, Ill. Her first book, "Shadowed by Three" was published in 1879, bylined with the name of her husband, whom she had married in 1877. I haven't been able to find out much about the couple. Some of the novels are bylined "Lawrence L. Lynch of the Secret Service." If true, and not just publisher's hyperbole, that may explain why his wife chose to write under his name. I don't know what happened to Lynch, but about 1887, Mrs. Lynch was married a second time, to Oswego physician Dr. Abraham Van Deventer, though she continued to use her first husband's name as nom de plume.

Henry L. Ratliff

* As a detective, you come across two interlaced cases.

* Where have the young girls gone?

* Where have the horses gone?

* Who shot at you and others?

* Are the mysterious occurrences at nearby towns, related?

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