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The Bronze Hand

May 22, 2020

Look, I’d love to be reading more. I feel like I should be reading more. But my brain mostly wants to a) cudgel itself into doing some work, and b) play increasingly arcane games of solitaire. Sometimes, though, what it wants to do most is: not sleep. One night last week I gave up on sleep around 3 a.m. and looked around for a book. What I found was a very battered copy of The Bronze Hand, by Carolyn Wells.

I’m so fond of Wells, but she’s so frustrating as a mystery writer. I know mysteries are supposed to be her Thing, but they don’t play to her strengths, and she does the same things over and over.

The Bronze Hand takes place aboard a steamship called The Pinnacle as it crosses from New York to Liverpool with several thousand passengers, although we’re mostly concerned with a small circle of first class ones. The most important of these are millionaire businessman Oscar Cox, and attractive but aloof Maisie Forman, both traveling alone. Early in the trip, Cox shows off a copy of a bronze hand by Rodin: a fetish he hopes brings him more good luck than bad. Later, someone claws off his face with it.

There’s no apparent connection between Cox and Maisie, but if there were no actual connection, she wouldn’t be in the book. And the more Wells mysteries you’ve read, the less likely the twist is to be any kind of surprise.

The Bronze Hand isn’t online–it was published in 1926–and it’s not worth seeking out, but I’m not mad at it, and when I finished it I got a couple of hours of sleep. I recommend it only if you happen to end up with a copy and don’t care if your light entertainment isn’t very good.

 

2 comments

  1. Duly noted!

    I’ve been burrowing through Harriet Pyne Grove & Grace May North & Edith Lavell books, and man, some of them are draggy. Great plot ideas, just… not so great execution.


  2. There is another book with the same title, by Anna Katharine Green. I haven’t read it, though. Any connection? thanks



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