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The Strange Case of Mortimer Fenley

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Author: Louis Tracy (Gordon Holmes)
Published: 1915
Language: English
Wordcount: 76,052 / 226 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 65.4
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 6,065
Added to site: 2008.09.02 21958

When John Trenholme, artist, accepted a welcome commission from a magazine editor to journey down to a certain old Hertfordshire village and make a series of sketches of its imperiled beauties, he looked forward to nothing more exciting than an agreeable, wholly peaceful little expedition. Certainly he did not in the least expect to get mixed up with a murder, and to find himself one of the most important witnesses in "The Strange Case of Mortimer Fenley." --New York Times, March 21, 1920

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He thought at first that she was heading straight for his lofty perch, and was perhaps bent on questioning his right to be there at all. But he was promptly undeceived. Her mind was set on one object, and her eyes did not travel beyond it. She no more suspected that an artist was lurking in the shade of the cedars than she did that the man in the moon was gazing blandly at her above their close-packed foliage. She came on with rapid, graceful strides, stood for a moment by the side of the Venus, and then, while Trenholme literally gasped for breath, shed coat, skirt and shoes, revealing a slim form clad in a dark blue bathing costume, and dived into the lake.

Trenholme had never felt more surprised. The change of costume was so unexpected, the girl's complete ignorance of his presence so obvious, that he regarded himself as a confessed intruder, somewhat akin to Peeping Tom of Coventry. He was utterly at a loss how to act. If he stood up and essayed a hurried retreat, the girl migh

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 4.3 from 7 reviews: *****
Leah A. Zeldes

Another excellent Tracy crime novel. This one features Scotland Yard detectives James Winter and Charles Furneaux on the trail of the murderer of a banker shot down on his own doorstep. They deduce the wily criminal about halfway through, and for the rest they work on getting proof. They're a great team, and the novel is a fun read.

Finding books like this makes me extremely grateful to Project Gutenberg and its volunteers and to Manybooks for making them so accessible. I'd never heard of Louis Tracy (or his pseudonym Gordon Holmes) before encountering his books here, and without their efforts I likely never would have.


Really, really good story. I'll have to see if there are any more "Little 'Un and Big 'Un" stories.


Quite brilliant. Sharp and concisely-drawn characters drive a thrilling narrative set in a small English town in the early part of the last century. The interplay between the two eccentric and affable detectives who are the main force of the story is delightful.

The intelligent modern reader will overlook the occasional and dated ideas about race - which play such a small part in the narrative as to be insignificant - as being very much of their time.


Not a bad read but some passages laboured. Suffers from the paternalism and racism of much popular fiction of that period that jars with modern sensibilities.

Linda Otto

I could read Furneaux and Winter books forever. I want more! I am now going to read the two other novels I see on Manybooks that feature these two wonderful characters. They are Number Seventeen and The Postmaster's Daughter. I'm going to download them right now!

R Stephan

Inspectors Furnaux and Winter are irresistible. While I read the book, I found it one of the best in that genre/time. The murder act, however, when you know it at the end, will be a bit improbable.

David Lyons

A well written enjoyable mystery with a mismatched pair of Scotland Yard detectives. Hard to put down.



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