This is slightly more straight forward than the other Wallace books I've read recently, I suppose, but still somewhat convoluted. But like all the others, we have oodles of characters who might or might not be what they appear to be at first. It's an entertaining read, if not exactly high literature. At one time (the 1920s) Wallace was wildly popular in England, or so Wikipedia tells me.
In this book, the beautiful Jane Leith is induced by her father, John Leith, to marry Peter Clifton, a young man who is very rich, but who seems to have had a shadowy past. Perhaps he has a shadowy present as well, he keeps appearing through the book in sketchy situations. Jane barely knows Clifton before she marries him. She was mostly going along with her father's wishes. She didn't even know if she liked the guy all that much. On the other hand, he was rich, decent enough looking, well spoken, and not repulsive. Such was the state of matrimony back in olden tymes, e.g. some 90 years ago: you could buy yourself a pretty spouse, and hope she was nice enough and compliant enough to make you happy. The women, of course, had few other options, so had to suck it up and hope for the best.
One of Peter Clifton's best friends is the Harley Street physician, Mr. Donald Cheyne Wells. Cheyne Wells is also Clifton's physician. He was also in favor of the marriage, and certified for the purposes of the marriage that Clifton was not a homicidal maniac, as had been Clifton's father, Alexander Wellerson. Jane, naturally, was not told that their might be a stain in Peter's blood lines.
Peter is also very good friends with Scotland's Yard Detective Superintendent Joe Bourke. But then Chief Inspector Moses Rouper is not so fond of Clifton and keeps trying to find reasons to frame him for one crime or another. Fortunately Bourke ranks higher than Rouper, and is also much more smarter. He keeps showing up at the right place at the right time so as to keep Rouper at bay.
Then, we have the problem that there is a mysterious, "the Clever One" lurking in the background. He is a master at printing and passing forged notes, notes in British pounds, U. S. dollars, French francs, whatever. It also appears that Peter Clifton has a hobby of producing etchings, very fine ones too. So might he also be "the Clever One", producing currency as a side line to his works of art? Well, along with the forged notes which appear in the pockets of various people in this book, bodies begin piling up. The amusing Basil Hale, perhaps a rival for Jane's hand, is found murdered in the bushes on the grounds where the Clifton's are having their honeymoon. Later, Clifton's lawyer, is found shot through the head, and Clifton himself is out cold under the bushes outside the lawyer's house.
So, is Clifton a homicidal lunatic? Will Jane, or Mrs. Clifton learn to love her husband? Are Cheyne Wells and Insp. Rouper on the up and up? Well, tune in to find out.
Were one able to give +s and -s, I'd likely rate this book a ***+. It needs not to be throwaway reading to merit 4*s, but none-the-less, it is indeed a GoodRead