New York Times Book Review:
I happened to pick up yesterday a book which has been very little heralded, but which seems to me by far the best novel I have read this season, and I have read many of them—which is, indeed, in my opinion, one of the best detective stories in the language—"The Marathon Mystery" by Mr. Burton E. Stevenson. "The Holladay Case" by the same author, published last year, was a clever and interesting story, and won a well-deserved popularity, but I confess that it did not prepare me for the interest and ingenuity of the present book. Besides this excellence of plot it is so well written that it comes very near ranking as literature. For breathless suspense it has "The Masquerader" beaten two to one, and for sheer horror and unexpectedness I have never seen its denouement equaled. I am a lover of good detective stories, and have all of the best ones, from Monsieur Dupin to Sherlock Holmes, but "The Marathon Mystery" shall have the favorite place in my library after this. I know that this liking is shared by many people, and I wish to direct the attention of your readers to this really exceptionally interesting book. I am sure I shall deserve their thanks by doing so.
--Waupun, Wis.. Dec. 3, 1904. R. A. S
"Well, there's nothing more to be learned out here," remarked Simmonds, after another glance around.
"Suppose we take a look at the other room," and he led the way toward the inner door.
It was an ordinary bedroom of moderate size and with a single closet, in which a few soiled clothes were hanging. The bed had been lain upon, and evidently by a person fully dressed, for there were marks of muddy shoes upon the counterpane, fresh marks as of one who had come in during the evening's storm. An empty whiskey bottle lay on a little table near the bed.
"I guess Thompson was a boozer," observed Simmonds.
"Yes," agreed Godfrey, "his face showed that pretty plainly."
"Well, the man we're after ain't in here; we'll have to search the house."
"Can't we let Miss Croydon go home? She won't run away-I'll answer for that. Besides, there's nothing against her."
Simmonds pondered a minute.
"Yes, I suppose so," he said, at last. "Of course, she'll have to appe
This sequel to "The Holladay Case" is cut above that work and the next book available here in the Lester / Godfrey mystery series, "That Affair At Elizabeth". Somewhat daringly, there are multiple shifts in narrative perspective in "The Marathon Mystery", with Godfrey initially taking center stage. The various characters involved in the mystery, especially the villain and his mistress, are portrayed with more flair and individuality. Finally, the plot itself is more gripping due to an active conflict; key subplots also are able to hold the reader's interest in themselves. Lester's gullibility I found a bit much, as in the first novel, but I suppose that was how Society was supposed to work.
A bit confusing at first. Main character, Mr. Lester, doesn't come in right away. But still a good mystery.
I like Burton E. Stevenson's books. This is a sequel to his first mystery (The Holladay Case). His protagonists are Mr. Lester (a lawyer) and Mr. Godfrey (an ace reporter). They make a pretty good team, and even though it was clear who the "bad guy" was--a very diabolical villain--early in the book, it was fun to see if and how they would catch him. I'm looking forward to the next Stevenson book in the series (The Mystery of the Boule Cabinet). They are fun, escapist reads. Enjoy!