Posts Tagged ‘samuelhopkinsadams’

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Wanted: A Husband

December 2, 2013

So, here is a thing that could pass for a description of a book, or possibly a Hallmark Christmas movie, minus the Christmas:

A girl manufactures a fictional fiancé to show up her dismissive roommates. She tells them she’s getting married the day after their double wedding. When she gets on the train for the country retreat she’s planned for her “honeymoon,” she discovers that her friends and their husbands are on the same train, because the friend who lent her his farmhouse has also lent them houses on the same property. She talks the nearest man into impersonating her fiancé, only to find that he’s her crush, disguised in order to avoid the man who’s trying to serve him with a subpeona.

Weirdly, those are the parts of Wanted: A Husband that I didn’t like. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Short story series #2: We’ve been here before

June 20, 2013

Check out the previous post in the series for stuff about short story series you’ve almost certainly heard of, and for my philosophy of short stories, which pretty much boils down to “they’re better when they come by the bookful and are all about the same character.”

These are the stories that I’ve written about here before. They’re in order from least to most awesome, which is not to say that the Our Square stories aren’t pretty good, or that Torchy isn’t a little higher on my list of favorite things ever than Emma McChesney. I mean, I put them in worst-to-best order by accident, and thought I might as well make a note of it. Read the rest of this entry ?

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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 ?

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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.
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The Flagrant Years

April 18, 2013

The Flagrant Years is Samuel Hopkins Adams’ novel of the cosmetics industry. I say “of” rather than “about” because while most of it takes place in a Fifth Avenue beauty parlor, mostly it’s about people. You get the impression that if Consuelo Barrett’s job search had led her to a different industry, the novel would have followed her there. It would be a wrong impression, because Adams clearly knew what he meant to write about, but this is exactly the kind of sleight of hand he’s best at — his ridiculously engaging characters are there to mask the lump of information he’s forcing down your throat and it actually works. Read the rest of this entry ?

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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 ?

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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 ?