Posts Tagged ‘thriller’

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The Strange Countess

January 17, 2020

What is there to say about an Edgar Wallace thriller, really? They’re all good in the way his books are good and bad in the way his books are bad.

The Strange Countess¬†focuses on Lois Margaritta Reddle, who is about to leave the lawyer’s office where she works to become secretary to the Countess of Moron. She also has a young man who follows her around–she assumes he’s angling for an introduction–and a mother in prison, although she doesn’t know that until a few chapters in. Someone keeps making attempts on Lois’ life, and the countess and her friend Chauncey Praye are definitely up to no good. The young man turns out to be a detective, who’s interest in Lois isn’t romantic–at first. Then there’s the countess’ son Selwyn, who isn’t as stupid as people think, and Lois’ roommate Lizzy Smith. They remind me a bit of Dolph and Hannah in Georgette Heyer’s Cotillion.

What else do you need to know? Someone shoots a couple of dogs, but offstage, so to speak.

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Ask Miss Mott

November 1, 2017

When I say I kept forgetting Ask Miss Mott was by E. Phillips Oppenheim and not Edgar Wallace, it’s a compliment. There are things that point towards Oppenheim: a lack of humor, an uglier snobbishness,¬† a brand of racism that’s slightly different from Wallace’s. But the world feels like it belongs to Wallace, with its melodramatic gangs of master criminals, its gallant Scotland Yard official and its intrepid girl detective. The style is Oppenheim, but the substance is mostly Wallace, and that has immediately vaulted Ask Miss Mott into second place on my list of favorite Oppenheim books. Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Great Impersonation

January 3, 2014

I haven’t read all that many E. Phillips Oppenheim books, but I’ve read The Great Impersonation three times. I worry that no other Oppenheim book will measure up to it, but if none does, that’s okay. I enjoy rereading it even though I know exactly what happens. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Terror Keep

February 5, 2013

Terror Keep might be my favorite of Edgar Wallace’s books featuring J.G. Reeder, but I can’t help feeling that it’s all wrong. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Room 13

January 30, 2013

I am all set to go on an Edgar Wallace kick. It will actually be a delayed-onset Edgar Wallace kick. Thursday last week I was hunting around for something to read and found myself wishing I owned more Edgar Wallace. I eventually settled for one of Peter O’Donnell’s Modesty Blaise books — and then three more — but the yen for Edgar Wallace was still there and last night I went over to Project Gutenberg Australia (is it illegal for me to download post-1923 books from there? I don’t think I want to know) and read Room 13, featuring Wallace’s series detective J.G. Reeder.

So, here’s the thing about Edgar Wallace — I’ve talked about it before — every time I try to write about one of his books in particular I end up taking about his books in general. It’s like most authors’ books are individual objects, which can be discussed and compared, but Edgar Wallace’s fiction is a fairly homogenous substance to be measured out in page-lengths. I’m going to pretend for a moment that it’s not, though, and that Room 13 stands alone and has nothing to do with any other book. And when I am done, I will have described a pretty typical Edgar Wallace thriller. Read the rest of this entry ?