Tuesday, June 3, 2014

"The Interest in the Unraveling of the Mystery Is Well Sustained"

By Isabel Ostrander (1883-1924).
W. J. Watt and Co.
1919. 277 pages.
Online HERE.

Isabel Ostrander wrote some romances as well as mystery/crime/detective stories; she died at a relatively young age. According to Wikipedia,"In the 1920s, Ostrander was notable enough that Agatha Christie parodied her in her Tommy and Tuppence anthology, Partners in Crime":
. . . the best of these [new mystery] stories from both mechanical and literary points of view is "The Twenty-Six Clues." The author is, I think, the best going in this line, among Americans at least.
There have been a number of recent detective stories by her showing range as well as quality.
"The Twenty-Six Clues" concerns another of those city mysteries which seem to be rather challenging the favorite old tragedy of the lonely country house or the unguarded by-road.
Perhaps one reason why I think well of this story, apart from its very presentable style, is because I did for once hit the [DELETED] on the head—guess the real murderer, I mean. But I have a sneaking suspicion that the story-teller meant me to do just that, by just that hair's-breadth! — H. W. Boynton, "Adventures and Riddles," THE BOOKMAN (May 1919; go to page 327, top right)
By Isabel Ostrander (1883-1924).
Robert M. McBride & Co.
1921. 300 pages.
An ingeniously constructed yarn, with the reader led astray by numerous false clues, is "The Crimson Blotter" by Isabel Ostrander. It is above the average of the current detective fiction and exciting enough to be read through at a sitting. — "Recent Fiction in Brief," THE BOOKMAN (November 1921)
By Isabel Ostrander (1883-1924).
Robert M. McBride & Co.
1925. 301 pages. $2.00
This posthumous detective-murder tale seems thoroughly to deserve the attention of Miss Ostrander's former following, for it measures up very creditably with the best of recent and numerous volumes of the same kind which we have read. Its use of certain approved mechanics, grown seedy and transparent from repeated adoption, is sagacious and subdued. In fact the old "stuff," generously oiled, freshly painted, working without a squeak or a hitch, achieves a state of surprising rejuvenation.
The story revolves about the death of Alma Leigh, a beautiful and wealthy widow, who has chosen to live in the quiet seclusion of Edendale, a Long Island village. Her friendly and affluent neighbors know nothing of her past, though it is apparent that she has been and still is a person of exceeding brilliancy and distinction.
Late one night she is murdered on the terrace of her estate by a deep stab wound in the breast. No trace of weapon or murderer is found, nor is there any faintest clue to indicate the identity of the guilty. Dr. Oakes, the village coroner and his friend Peterby, an elderly retired stock-broker, set forth upon a manifold investigation, which necessitates the following of innumerable false leads growing out of the exciting revelations they unearth from the dead woman's carefully guarded past.
The successive steps in the denouement are taken in full view of the reader, and the interest in the unraveling of the mystery is well sustained. — "The New Books," THE SATURDAY REVIEW (September 19, 1925Jump To page 142, bottom right)
Love gives a frail woman the strength to save her daughter in one of the cleverest mysteries the late author ever constructed. — "The Bookman's Guide to Fiction," THE BOOKMAN (October 1925; Jump To page 203, top right)
- See Mike Grost's article about Ostrander on MYSTERY*FILE HERE.
- An Ostrander bibliography is HERE.
- A few of her stories were filmed; see HERE.
- Another Ostrander title, AT ONE-THIRTY (1915), is online and reviewed HERE: "A fairly silly and guessable whodunnit. However the writing isn't bad. The device of a blind detective adds a certain sensuality to the text — not least where the female characters are concerned — given the importance of touch, sound and smell to his investigations. The qualities and scents of hair, perfumes, furs and the rustle of petticoats punctuate the drama. A pity that the e-book has numerous typos and scannos." — By apidi
- Ostrander co-authored a crime novel, THE CREVICE (1915), with William John Burns, online and reviewed HERE: "This was fun! The 'world's greatest detective' who is called (get this!) The Master Mind unravels the tricky puzzle of the death of an internationally renowned financier and saves his daughter from penury. Pulpy, but great fun." — By Linda Otto
- Look HERE to find her THE CLUE IN THE AIR: A DETECTIVE STORY (1917).
- Links to other online Ostrander titles can be found HERE.

Category: Detective fiction

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