make free of his North Side apartment. So Orme left the Annex and went to the rather too gorgeous, but very luxurious Père Marquette, where he found that the staff had been instructed to keep a close eye on his comfort. All this had happened but three short hours ago.
After getting back to the apartment, Orme's first thought was to telephone to Bessie Wallingham. He decided, however, to wait till after dinner. He did not like to appear too eager. So he went down to the public dining-room and ate what was placed before him, and returned to his apartment just at dusk.
In a few moments he got Bessie Wallingham on the wire.
"Why, Robert Orme!" she exclaimed. "Wherever did you come from?"
"The usual place. Are you and Tom at home this evening?"
"I'm so sorry. We're going out with some new friends. Wish I knew them well enough to ask you along. Can you have some golf with us at Arradale to-morrow afternoon?"
"Delighted! Say, Bessie, do you know a girl who runs a bla
Robert Orme, a visitor to Chicago from the East, is drawn into a mystery surrounding a beautiful but reticent young woman and a curiously marked five-dollar bill. He becomes fascinated by both, rather unbelievably so: "Orme knew in his soul that there could be nothing unworthy in any action in which the girl took part." That's the least of the plot's unlikely events.
Except for a little boosterism at the beginning, the setting reads like one derived from maps -- "He had crossed the Rush Street bridge and found his way up to the Lake Shore Drive..." -- and conveys little of the character of Chicago. It could have been set in almost any city. (One of the streets mentioned has either disappeared completely in the hundred years since this was written or, more likely, the author made it up.)
The novel also contains a full measure of its era's prejudices and stereotypes about foreigners. And, annoyingly, we never find out the mysterious "Girl's" name.
It's not absolutely wretched, but it's certainly a waste of time.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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