The Agony Column

The Agony Column


(19 Reviews)
The Agony Column by Earl Derr Biggers







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The Agony Column


(19 Reviews)
Notices in the personal column of the London Daily Mail, that romantic institution popularly called "The Agony Column," afford a medium for the introduction of the lovely girl and the hero in the opening of this story. A maze of perplexing circumstances follow, and throughout there is the same originality of treatment that one finds in the author's previous works. Turned into a motion picture The Second Floor Mystery in 1930

Book Excerpt

e lady at least, I said, will understand. He sneered at that. He shook his silly gray head. I will admit he had me worried. But now you have justified my faith in you. Thank you a million times for that!

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.

Now I


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Readers reviews

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A pleasant and a little too edulcorated story. The subject is as original as it is siropy, bad for your teeth.
Nonetheless, it's curious, funny, easy to read, with a plot, or a pretext, the Agony Column, not easy to forget.
Earl Derr Biggers was a superb mystery writer. He also wrote plays, screen plays, reviews, humor stories and a few travel articles. Born in northern Ohio he attended Harvard and graduated in 1907. He died at age 48 in 1933. His greatest character was of course Charlie Chan. Chan may be the closest to a great Sherlockian detective any American author has ever created. Biggers visited Honolulu and is reputed to have been told of the great Chinese-American detective Chang Apana who worked on the Honolulu police force. Chang was a storied investigator and although there is no evidence Biggers actually met Chang he clearly knew of his achievements.
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.

BIG smile on my face as I just finished the book. Loved it!
Fast developments and engaging protagonist. Plus I love surprises.
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Great story, fast paced, fun, full of plot twists, highly recommend!
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A tale of murder and espionage in pre-WWI London narrated through a series of letters. An excellent mystery written in an interesting style.
What a hoot - had me turning pages and couldn't stop until I finished!

I was tricked and didn't see the twist coming - had to re-read it!

A real fun read!
An Excellent Book,

Truly enjoyed reading it....

Every letter raises ur curiosity. And the climax was ultimate :-)

Now I am reading other books of Earl Derr Biggers.

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I am absolutely pleased to have read this story and now I must seek out the film. It has all the elements of a good mystery and the romance is believable for the time.

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.

Excellent fun! Well-written. In re-telling it to my wife she also got fooled (read it and you will know what I mean).