Freeman took some pride in his "inverted detective stories" where the crime is told first, then the investigation. Four of the five stories in this collection are like that. These are good stories of detection, based on Dr. Thorndyke's scientific methods.
Craig L. Adams
Craig L. Adams
Craig L. Adams’s book reviews
A brief early American detective story. A young man investigating a counterfeiting case, stumbles into a family controversy - that eventuates in murder.
A well-respected clergyman is found dead at an old abandoned mill. It appears to be accidental death, or maybe suicide. But, the news of this death has a fatal effect on two women. One is his fiancee, and the other is a wealthy matron living on the other side of town. The fiancee's roommate, an orphan, investigates the crime, out of loyalty to her dead roommate. I generally like the novels of Anna Katharine Green, but I didn't care for this one. It seemed overly melodramatic to me, and I never really gained an interest in it. The later part of the book is occupied with long confessions. None of Green's series characters appear in this novel. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for this. But, I did not enjoy it, and cannot recommend it. Nevertheless, AKG fans might want to give it a try.
I found this very disappointing. The author wrote a series of five detective novels that featured crime reporter Jim Godfrey. This is one of the later entries in the series. Sadly, it has very little genuine mystery in it. It is also quite xenophobic, focusing on an evil practitioner of a nonsensical eastern religion. Concerning this fictitious religion, there is no authentic cultural background or information. Stevenson was a good writer, but this is not a very good book. I'm hoping the other entries in this highly regarded series are better than this one. This isn't bad, it's just not good. I was hoping for something much better.
An great collection of short detective stories featuring Dr. Thorndyke. Freeman had tried out the various experiments he describes in the book to make sure they would work as described. Another excellent entry in an excellent series.
This was quite a popular and sensational novel in its day. The author was a frustrated playwright, and he enjoyed creating characters with odd dialects and patterns of speech. A man is murdered in a hansom cab. But, who was the man who was last seen with him? The premise of this mystery is a bit thin, to sustain the novel for its entire length, and I felt the second half of the book dragged quite a bit. But, bear in mind that these types of mystery books were quite a new genre at the time. The popularity of this novel was an encouragement to other writers (like Conan Doyle, for example) to venture into the genre. So, all in all, a good first effort from Fergus Hume. But, not a great mystery novel.
This is the best remembered of Fletcher's mysteries. A journalist on his way home from the paper happens to be present at the discovery of a murdered man. He takes the investigation on himself. There is a connection to a huge financial swindle that occurred many years before. The action moves along at a nice pace, keeping the reader interested all the way through. Pretty good, but not great.
Another great old 19th Century mystery novel by Anna Katharine Green. In the town of Sibley in New York, the widow Clemens is attacked right after a group of friends, including the local District Attorney, had just concluded a discussion about crimes of this type. Before she dies she cries out: "Hand! Ring!" Later, during the coroner's inquest, suspicion falls on one man who stood to benefit from her death. But, Horace Byrd, a detective visiting from New York city, is not satisfied with this view, and begins to investigate on his own... Complications, and much drama ensue. Finally, in the very closing chapters Mr. Gryce show up to straighten things out. The author had a wonderful knack for writing these lengthy old mystery novels - and sustaining interest all the way through. It's a long book. The table of contents preserves the original page numbers: and, the last chapter is listed as beginning on page 600! Nevertheless, I never lost interest, as new "red herrings" show up along the way. Without giving anything away, I should mention that readers may not find the events and reconstructions in the closing chapters to be entirely credible. The attitudes about men and women in this book are very 19th Century. Just the same, I recommend this highly to all lovers of mystery novels.