Friday, July 4, 2014

"The Reversed Detective Motive"

By Charles McEvoy (1879 - ?).
Houghton Mifflin Co.
1913. 285 pages.
Online HERE and HERE.

Sometimes it just doesn't pay for the knight in shining armor to come charging into the fray:
[Full review] This clever story of British origin shows rather a novel aspect of what may be called the reversed detective motive.
The situation is piquant. An innocent idle young man (not so very young in years) is summoned to the rescue of a maiden held in duress in a London house. He gets her away and conceals her in a lonely country place. Whereupon a noble family, whose honor is at stake, set about to recover the runaway and lay hands on the abductor.
An American girl of detective propensities gets on the trail of the chivalrous young man, and there is a mighty good chase, in which the reader, so to speak, runs with the hare.
It is good sport, although towards the end both hare and hounds lag a little. — "Current Fiction," THE NATION (May 8, 1913; go to page 475, top left)
[SPOILER WARNING: Excerpts] The discreet and non-committal title of Brass Faces does not in the least prepare the reader for the Arabian Nights Adventures which begin almost with the opening pages of Mr. McEvoy's amusing tale. Indeed, at the close one feels almost as breathless as the hero must have been at the end of his strenuous five days.  . . .
. . . Immediately on leaving the court room, however, he [our hero] is accosted by a female detective, an American, who demands to know the whereabouts of the girl.  . . .
. . . How the detective makes it impossible for him to see the girl, how he is betrayed by a mercenary friend who cannot withstand a bribe, and how he continues to elude pursuit by means of an aeroplane are added amusing complications.  . . .
. . . Mr. McEvoy does not permit the rapid action of his tale to flag. His character drawing is not so surely done.  . . .
. . . The American detective is quite impossible, as usual. In moments of excitement, she swears, "by Lincoln," which is a new English touch. — "New Books by New Writers," THE BOOKMAN (June 1913)

Category: Mystery/Adventure fiction

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