Looking far into the future, we are given a picture of some assembly, a kind of League of Nations; a meeting controlled almost entirely by intrigue and plotting. Henry Beechtree, a reporter for a liberal newspaper, becomes interested in the mysterious disappearance of some of the most prominent diplomats. His solution of the matter proves to be quite false, but it serves to throw the reader off the correct thread. The real secret is a surprise for those who think that they have solved the mystery early in the story. Further, the author has suggested a problem that is very much in the minds of people at the present time--for the average person is wondering how these leagues can be kept any more free from secret diplomacy than the old parleys.
t walk on the Quai. They were holding meetings together and drawing up hundreds of petitions, so that the Assembly might receive at least one an hour from to-morrow onwards. Zionists do these things thoroughly.
Motor-cars hummed to and fro between the hotels and the Secretariat, and inside them one saw delegates. Flags flew and music played, and the jet d'eau sprang, an immense crystalline tree of life, a snowy angel, up from the azure lake into the azure heavens.
Henry gave a little sigh of pleasure. He liked the scene.
"Will there be treats?" he asked his companion. "I like treats."
"Treats? Who for? The delegates get treats all right, if you mean that."
"For us, I meant."
"Oh, yes, the correspondents get a free trip or a free feed now and then too. I usually get out of them myself; official beanos bore me. The town's very good to us; it wants the support of the press against rival claimants, such as Brussels."
"I should enjoy a lake trip very much,"
As the 2nd title says, it is not a mystery but an improbable tale. On the surface it is the unveiling of a conspiracy, but the writing is sarcastic and doesn't fit to a mystery plot. Later we see it is an experiment in trangenderism not unlike Virginia Woolf's Orlando. Not for everyone and mostly silly.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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