The Holladay Case

A Tale

Published: 1903
Language: English
Wordcount: 45,618 / 137 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 85.1
LoC Category: PS
Series: Jim Godfrey
Downloads: 2,124
Added to site: 2006.10.31 15115

The story of Miss Frances Holladay begins with a Wall Street mystery, with scenes shifting soon afterward to an ocean steamer, and then to France. This is one of the new and artistic style of detective stories, somewhat in the vein of Conan Doyle. The tale begins with the finding of a New York banker stabbed to death in his office. Suspicion falls on his daughter. A kidnapping and pursuit over seas follow. The story contains a minimum of horror and a maximum of ingenuity.

Show Excerpt

"What is the position of your desk in Mr. Holladay's office?" he asked.

"There is an outer office for the clerks; opening from that, a smaller room where my desk is placed. Opening from my room was Mr. Holladay's private office.

"Had Mr. Holladay's office any other door?"

"No, sir."

"Could entrance be had by the windows?"

"The windows open on the street side of the building. We occupy a part of the eighth floor."

"The fire-escapes----"

"Are at the back of the building--there are none on the street side--nothing but a sheer wall."

"So that anyone entering or leaving the private office must necessarily pass by your desk?"

"Necessarily; yes, sir."

"Could anyone pass without your seeing him?"

"No, sir; that would be quite impossible."

The coroner leaned back in his chair. There was one point settled.

"Now, Mr. Rogers," he said, "will you kindly tell us, in your own way and with as much detail as possible, exactly w


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

The first of the Godfrey and Lester novels. A pretty good mystery, although you'll likely catch on to the solution well before Lester, the rather naive narrator, does. Godfrey, the clever newsman, plays a smaller role here than in subsequent books.

A young woman is accused of the murder of her wealthy father; she refuses to say where she was while it occurred. Later, she acts oddly and disappears. One big flaw is that first refusal to speak the reason for it, when it comes out, seems insufficient, under the circumstances and she's pretty much a cardboard character, just a MacGuffin.


This is the first of the Lester / Godfrey novels, which feature the law clerk Lester solving mysteries related to his firm's top clients, with an appearance by Godfrey the reporter in a supporting role.

After a rather gripping initial setup, with a classic apparent murder and associated inquest, the action trails into a more gentlemanly type story of pursuing a quarry while tending to genteel relationships.

A short and enjoyable read, if not terribly challenging. I found Lester's tendency to take everything at face value initially somewhat amusing and annoying at the same time; apparently that's what's done in Society.


Excellent story. Reminds of the old black & white mysteries on TV. Lots of fun.

Linda Otto

Interesting. Starts out with an intriguing murder and ends with an unusual denouement. In between, the sleuthing held my interest enough so that I kept turning the pages. It is not a very long book, but I would call it worthwhile for an afternoon escape. Enjoy!

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