Thursday, July 10, 2014

"This Novel Has the Interest of a Detective Story, a Love Story, and a Story of Ethical Significance"

By Francis Lynde (1856-1930).
Charles Scribner's Sons.
1911. 458 pages. $1.30
A novel with an oddball premise:
[Parts of a review] That the wages of sin is death to the soul, that the end does not justify the means, and that it is not possible to right one wrong by committing another, is the theme of Mr. Lynde's latest novel. A theme cleverly handled, too, where the moral, clearly pointed, does not in any way interfere with the exciting sweep of events narrated.
In its external The Price is a good type of what one might call the "inverted" detective story, with the criminal in full view of the reader all the time, and the detective groping in a fog just behind. We hold our breath when they seem at the point of meeting, and whatever our convictions may be as to the right and wrong of the case, our morals weaken in our sympathy for the gallant if mistaken criminal.  . . .
. . . With little attempt at character drawing, there is good development of plot and a sustained interest that holds the reader's unflagging attention.  . . .
. . . It is a pity, with Mr. Lynde's talent for telling a story, that he is not a little more careful as to workmanship.  . . . — J. Marchand, "Ten Books of the Month," THE BOOKMAN (July 1911)
[Full review] In an entirely different vein is Mr. Francis Lynde's novel of adventure and crime, "The Price"; the story of a young and sorely burdened Socialist, who takes a great sum from a bank president at the muzzle of his pistol but without any consciousness of crime, to discover later that the law against theft is not a mere convention, and that to do a criminal deed is to become a criminal.
This novel has the interest of a detective story, a love story, and a story of ethical significance. — "Half a Dozen Novels," THE OUTLOOK (July 22, 1911; go to page 696, top right)
[Excerpts] Like the exhorter who insisted that he had been "called" to preach, but was thought by his auditors to have heard some other noise, Mr. Lynde appears to have mistaken the nature of his inspiration. On the solemn pretext of proving that he errs who robs a bank, be his motives ne'er so lofty, Mr. Lynde has worked up a "rattling" story of a spectacular crime, a clean get-away, and the slow hunting down of the fugitive—the kind of story that is its own best excuse for being.  . . .
. . . A good working knowledge of localities, types, and manners from New Orleans to southern Minnesota, and a smattering of psychology of crime, have helped in this case to subdue the native hue of melodrama.  . . . — "Current Fiction," THE NATION (November 2, 1911)
- Our previous encounter with Francis Lynde is HERE.

Category: Crime fiction

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