I have a vague feeling that I'd heard about Edgar Wallace off and on over the years. According to Wikipedia, he was immensely prolific back a hundred years ago. Apparently, at one time a quarter of the books being read in Britain were penned by Wallace. So, anyway, I figured if he's good enough for Edwardian Brits, why not give him a fly?
This was a pretty intriguing little book. I think it would be classified as crime fiction rather than mystery. There's no mystery as to who are the villains and who are the good folks. But there is, indeed, oodles of skullduggery.
So, the best friend of a young lawyer, Jack Glover, has been convicted of murder, basically upon the sole witness of a beautiful, well spoken young woman, Jean Briggerland. The woman couldn't be lying, of course, because she's beautiful and well spoken. After all, aren't all beautiful, well-spoken women pure as the driven snow? It turns out the alleged murderer, James Meredith, is a cousin of Jean Briggerland, and also her ex-fiancée, and she stands to inherit all his wealth upon his death, unless, of course, he concocts to find another heir before he is hung, e.g. getting himself a spouse (since she struck out on the spousal rouse).
Glover sets about getting Meredith's conviction overturned. But first, he sets Glover up with a spouse, one Lydia Beale, so as to ensure that Jean Briggerland won't inherit Meredith's wealth. Lydia is also a beautiful young woman, albeit poor. She is also absurdly naïve. She works for a living as a fashion-design artist. Suddenly, she is rich beyond all imagination. As a result, naturally, Jean Briggerland has to contrive to get at Lydia's wealth. First she has Meredith murdered, although it looks to the police like a case of suicide. Then Jean befriends Lydia, and not surprisingly, a series of attempts are made on Lydia's life. So the question becomes, can Jack Glover save Lydia and her wealth, or will the conniving Jean Briggerland win in the end?
The story takes us on adventures from London to Paris to the Mediterranian near Monte Carlo, and even into Italy and Tangier. We meet other interesting characters and low lifes, and so on. Actually, I thought it was a fairly decent book, for recreational reading. I'll likely give Wallace another fly or two. Would that we could give +s and -s, this would definitely merit ***+.