Book Review : Number 17
By Louis Tracy
While leaving the opera a young writer, Frank Theydon, can’t help but notice an enchanting young woman leaving with her father. Later that night Frank is surprised when he sees the same gentleman entering his own apartment building.
Prior to leaving for a lunch appointment, he discovers that his neighbor has been brutally murdered. Frank’s life is entwined with the beautiful young woman, her father, James Forbes and police inspectors. As he hesitates to implicate James Forbes in the murder he is thrown into a world of deceit and danger. The mystery deepens as an ivory skull is delivered to the next intended victim.
Adult Point of View
Number Seventeen was written prior to WWI. Because of the time period, there are many non-politically correct ideas in the book. These quite make me laugh, and at times stutter over how preposterous some thoughts were in the early 1900’s. The attitudes around women and foreigners belong in the past.
The writing frequently uses trite sayings, but maybe these very sayings were new in Tracy’s day. One of the things I love with older books are the descriptions. Tracy is not overly effusive in his word use and his novel feels more modern than many of his contemporary authors.
A Sherlockian sighted inspector provides insight to the events as they unfold. (Tracy was just as insightful, noting the problems with machines in war causing terrible deaths.) The events keep twisting and turning making for a fast read. I have to admit that I thought the American seemed pretty shady.
For a clean mystery with a dash of romance Tracy novels will be a perfect fit (but only if you can overlook the non-pc point of view).
3.25 out of 5 stars
Another series of light mysteries that I enjoyed starts with Crocodile on the Sandbank, a Victorian historical mystery set in Egypt, by Elizabeth Peters, first published in 1975.