Posts Tagged ‘samuelhopkinsadams’


The Mystery

April 23, 2013

Halfway through The Mystery, by Samuel Hopkins Adams and Stewart Edward White, I decided that I definitely was not going to review it. But now that I’m done, I kind of feel like I have to. It’s just so weird. At least, it seemed weird do me, but I’m not really in the habit of reading slightly sci-fi pirate-y horror stories, so. Read the rest of this entry ?


Average Jones

April 20, 2013

Predictably, The Flagrant Years left me wanting to read more Samuel Hopkins Adams. Less predictably, it mostly made me want to reread books of his I’d already read. So I thought I’d take advantage of the impulse and finally review Average Jones, which I’ve now read three times.

Average Jones comes by his nickname fairly — his full name is Adrian Van Reypen Egerton Jones — and he’s the star of a series of linked short stories in which he solves mysteries having to do with advertisements. His career as an advertising expert (or Ad-Visor, as his cards say) begins as a hobby and at the suggestion of his friend Mr. Waldemar, editor of an important newspaper. Waldemar and another friend, Bertram, act as occasional sidekicks, but Jones is the only character who appears in every story.
The mysteries are clever and unusual, although Adams does have a disconcerting fondness for putting dead dogs in his stories. The mysteries mostly take place within the five boroughs, but one takes place in Baltimore and another in Baja California. I’m not sure which story is my favorite, but I know which advertisement is:
     WANTED—Ten thousand loathly black beetles, by
     A leaseholder who contracted to leave a house in the
     same condition as he found it. Ackroyd,
     100 W. Sixteenth St. New York
I don’t know what else to say about it — it’s just thoroughly delightful, in an unassuming, cheerful kind of way. It’s a good example of Samuel Hopkins Adams and of humorous mystery stories. If you’ve been wondering where to start with Adams, this might be the place.

Our Square

January 15, 2012

In his two books of “Our Square” stories, Our Square and the People in it and From a Bench in Our Square, Samuel Hopkins Adams veers dangerously close to Eleanor Hallowell Abbott territory: everyone is named things like Cyrus the Gaunt, the Bonnie Lassie, the Little Red Doctor, or the Weeping Scion, and more than half the stories are adorable romances between peculiar young men and beautiful, wealthy young women, cookie cutter-like in their similarity. And if he never gets quite as twee as Abbott, he also doesn’t have her touch with hysteria.

But that’s not to say that the stories aren’t a lot of fun. Barring a few missteps and a dead dog, they are. Read the rest of this entry ?


The Unspeakable Perk

October 1, 2011

I was totally fine with The Island Mystery until I read The Unspeakable Perk. Now I wish George A. Birmingham and Samuel Hopkins Adams had traded books. That way The Island Mystery would have been charming as it needed to be and The Unspeakable Perk would have been as cynical as it ought to have been. For the record, I am only comparing the two because they’re novels about American millionaires’ daughters on fictional islands. If you add in Romance Island, this starts looking dangerously like a trope.

That said, I like The Unspeakable Perk a lot better than The Island Mystery. If there is one thing Samuel Hopkins Adams is super consistent about, it’s his charm, and that’s one of the few things that will win me over to an otherwise unsatisfying book. Read the rest of this entry ?


The Clarion

September 28, 2011

The Clarion reminded me a bit of V.V.’s Eyes, and also of K. It’s not really as smart as either of those, but it’s mostly pretty delightful. It turns out that Samuel Hopkins Adams can be charming even when dealing with disease, corruption, betrayal, and the loss of ideals. Although I guess it’s less about the loss of ideal than about their creation, or about growing into them. That’s mostly where my V.V.’s Eyes comparisons come in. I’m comparing it to K mostly because a lot of silly, melodramatic things happen in a sympathetic way. Read the rest of this entry ?


Little Miss Grouch

August 9, 2011

All you members of the fluffy romance contingent will not want to miss out on Samuel Hopkins Adams’ Little Miss Grouch, the most adorable and entertaining novel of transatlantic crossing that it’s ever been my pleasure to read. Read the rest of this entry ?