The Agony Column
Three weeks I have been in this huge, ungainly, indifferent city, longing for the States. Three weeks the Agony Column has been my sole diversion. And then--through the doorway of the Carlton restaurant--you came--
It is of myself that I must write, I know. I will not, then, tell you what is in my mind--the picture of you I carry. It would mean little to you. Many Texan gallants, no doubt, have told you the same while the moon was bright above you and the breeze was softly whispering through the branches of--the branches of the--of the--
Confound it, I don't know! I have never been in Texas. It is a vice in me I hope soon to correct. All day I intended to look up Texas in the encyclopedia. But all day I have dwelt in the clouds. And there are no reference books in the clouds.
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Nonetheless, it's curious, funny, easy to read, with a plot, or a pretext, the Agony Column, not easy to forget.
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Unfortunately this book was written prior to the Charlie Chan books and plays and it suffers by comparison. Based on personal columns appearing daily in a London newspaper the story involves a young visiting American who breakfasts in the same hotel restaurant as a visiting American girl and her father. The story contains some humor however the basis of the relationship is the boy writing a letter to the column which is addressed to the girl despite lacking her name. She reads the column and responds. A murder and mystery is interwoven in their letters. It all seems a bit much and my interest abated early in the process. However in deference to the author and his superior later creations I continued to read to the end. I can not honestly recommend the story, however as this is a very early work of mystery for the author it may be a worthy read simply as a comparison to what comes in Biggers more mature works. I would recommend "Seven Keys to Baldpate" and all of the Charlie Chan mysteries to the reader.
Fast developments and engaging protagonist. Plus I love surprises.
I was tricked and didn't see the twist coming - had to re-read it!
A real fun read!
Truly enjoyed reading it....
Every letter raises ur curiosity. And the climax was ultimate :-)
Now I am reading other books of Earl Derr Biggers.
I've read a great many mysteries, maybe thousands. This one is well worth remembering.
Budding writers could learn a great deal from the study of these early stories.