The Hand in the Dark

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Author: Arthur J. Rees
Published: 1920
Language: English
Wordcount: 107,675 / 312 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 77.8
LoC Category: PR
Downloads: 1,850
Added to site: 2007.02.09 16021

A detective story above the average, though to some readers it will seem too long drawn out and to others too tragic. A complicated crime is brought to light, entirely by the deductive method. Characters are skillfully drawn and the style is good.

Show Excerpt


"Er--yes. Thank you awfully. Thank you once more for your kindness."

The young officer uttered these polite platitudes of a guest's farewell with some abruptness, bowed once more, and turned away across the old stone bridge which spanned the moat.


Miss Heredith turned her steps towards the house. The guests had dispersed while she was saying farewell to Captain Nepcote, and nothing further was expected of her as a hostess until dinner-time. It was her daily custom to devote a portion of the time between tea and dinner to superintending the arrangements for the latter meal. The moat-house possessed a competent housekeeper and an excellent staff of servants, but Miss Heredith believed in seeing to things herself.

On her way to the house she caught sight of an under gardener clipping one of the ornamental terrace hedges on the south side of the house, and she crossed over to him. The man suspended


Average Rating of 4 from 4 reviews: ****

This is a very good murder mystery. I enjoyed the interactions among the three detectives working the case. Their approaches to the investigation are somewhat varied. Two are from Scotland Yard, one private. All three are competent and make contributions to the investigation, as well as making some mistakes and poor assumptions. Sometimes struggling in the face of professional jealousies, they move forward to the solution of a complex crime. A good read that you will probably enjoy if you are a fan of the "murder in the English country house" genre.

Dai Alanye

Over the past several months I've read numerous mysteries written from post US Civil War to the great Depression. Though some have been interesting, the majority have been unlikely, dependent upon coincidence or weakly written. Hand in the Dark is the best I've yet read.

It's lengthy but complex, covering a gruesome and puzzling murder that occurs in an English country home, and reviewing the individual reasonings of three competing detectives.

I'll be looking for more by Arthur Rees.

Craig L. Adams

I found this old mystery overly-long and disappointing. At first, I enjoyed the complex sentences (no one would write in this style nowadays) and the set-up of the story. The characters are well drawn and interesting. About half-way through the book, however, Rees introduces his detective, Colwyn - it's all tedious and downhill from there. Colwyn is a preposterous and uninteresting character. Colwyn finally tricks the guilty party into confessing the crime in detail. While I did not like this book, there may be better titles by Rees. He's not a bad writer (in an old-fashioned sort of way) or plotter. But, I do not personally recommend this book.

David Lyons

This is a good, if lengthy, murder mystery. Lots of twists and turns. If you like the genre you will probably enjoy the story.

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