Wednesday, July 2, 2014

"A Mystery Story in Which Practically Every One Concerned Knows from the Beginning Almost All the Essential Points of the Mystery"

By Wells Southworth Hastings (1878-1923) and Brian Hooker (1880-1946).
Grosset & Dunlap.
1911. 341 pages.
Another lightweight mystery; don't expect much in the way of action or suspense:
[Excerpts] . . . It is quite frankly a mystery story in which practically every one concerned knows from the beginning almost all the essential points of the mystery—with the single exception of the hero himself, and of course the reader.
. . . And the curious thing about the book, the thing which differentiates it from its general class, is that he [the hero], the outsider, the amateur, the one man heavily handicapped by lack of any helping knowledge, actually does get his hand upon the combination of facts that unlocks the puzzle.
. . . The one element which one feels inclined to quarrel with is that of an overcareful style. A high literary finish is of course an admirable thing, other matters being equal. But in a story written frankly for the sake of swift narrative interest, the reader does not want to stop for half a minute in order to admire neat turns of phrase or the pleasant rhythm of sound sequence. As a matter of fact, however, the number of pages in this book in which we feel that the action drags a bit while the authors are luxuriating in sheer good writing are not numerous enough to matter seriously one way or the other.  . . . — "The Theory of Heroes and Some Recent Novels," THE BOOKMAN (April 1911; go to page 194, left bottom)
Plot bullets: A man takes a vacation. He gets involved with the plight of a young girl. The back and forth favor of the girl is puzzling. There is a mystery that he must solve. He has fallen in love. — Henry L. Ratliff, MANYBOOKS
[Excerpt] This vintage mystery was written in 1911 by Wells Hastings. It was a little different in that the mystery was not a murder. It was charming and I did enjoy it.  . . . — Peggy Ann, PEGGY ANN'S POST (September 10, 2011)

Category: Detective fiction

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