The Four Pools Mystery

Cover image for


Author: Jean Webster
Published: 1907
Language: English
Wordcount: 59,676 / 172 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 83.3
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 2,361
Added to site: 2007.05.01 16750

Could a tyrannical plantation owner be responsible for his own murder? An unusual and stirring story of mystery and tragedy, in which the portrayal of life on a Southern plantation and the horror and fear roused in the negroes by what they believed manifestations of the ancestral "ha'nt" is clearly and vividly done. It is a book to keep its readers up nights.

Show Excerpt

Radnor frowned slightly.

"He doesn't forgive," he returned.

"What was the trouble with Jeff?" I ventured. "I have never heard any particulars."

"He and my father didn't agree. I don't remember very much about it myself; I was only thirteen when it happened. But I know there was the devil of a row."

"Do you know where he is?" I asked.

Radnor shook his head.

"I sent him some money once or twice, but my father found it out and shut down on my bank account. I've lost track of him lately--he isn't in need of money though. The last I heard he was running a gambling place in Seattle."

"It's a great pity!" I sighed. "He was a fine chap when I knew him."

Radnor echoed my sigh but he did not choose to follow up the subject, and we passed the rest of the way in silence until we turned into the lane that led to Four-Pools. After the manner of many Southern places the house was situated well toward the middle of the large plantation, and entirely out of sight from


Average Rating of 4.3 from 3 reviews: *****
Leah A. Zeldes

Arnold Crosby, a New York lawyer visiting relatives in the South, finds their plantation haunted by a peculiar ghost one who steals chickens and bearer bonds while terrorizing the servants amid uneasy relations between his autocratic, quick-tempered uncle, Colonel Gaylord, and Radnor, Gaylord's son and heir.

When the colonel is found murdered, Radnor is the prime suspect, especially in the eyes of the sheriff who's his chief rival for a coquettish belle. But Arnold's pal New York Post-Dispatch reporter Terry Patten arrives on the scene with other ideas.

Written in 1907, this novel by the author of "Daddy Long-Legs," depicts Southern characters with the unpleasant attitudes and racial slurs common to the place and time; however, the Northerners are somewhat more enlightened. Beyond that drawback, it's well written, absorbing and a fine mystery that will keep you guessing nearly to the end.

R Stephan

It's not an excellent book or great plot but the realistic story is well written, and shows a fine example of shifting of perspectives, esp. what can lead to racist opinions. As a mystery, you won't put it down until finished.

David Lyons

Interesting mystery. Although fiction, it gives a glimpse of conditions in the south post-civil war. I enjoyed it.

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