Tuesday, October 31, 2017

#9 - The House of Terror by Edward Woodward (1930)

dustjackets.com


About this edition: This is one of five titles released simultaneously in a Christmas boxed set. These are the only five titles appearing in the green cloth binding.


About the author: Not much is known about Edward Woodward. The frontispiece of this book lists three of his other novels: The Pigeon Wins, The Gamblers, and Black Sheep. Note that both Goodreads and Google confuse him with the English actor by the same name (born 1930, obviously not this author) and attribute various other works (incorrectly) to him. 

Characters:


  • Dr. Cuthbery Merrivale, the local doctor
  • Hester Merrivale, his sister
  • George Fenchurch, the man with the limp - an artist intent on painting scenes at Cleeson Manor
  • Jacob Martuke, local inn owner
  • Deborah Martuke, his wife, who becomes housekeeper at Cleeson Manor
  • Rupert Dykeminster, owner of Cleeson Manor
  • John Pedmore, Dykeminster's servant, a hunchback
  • Alicia Dykeminster, sole heir of Rupert
  • Veronica Starling, Alicia's roommate
  • Charles Nicholson, attorney for the Dykeminsters
  • Carlos Tenodo, Spanish newspaper man, friend of Rupert
  • Andrew Fleeson, houseman at Cleeson Manor
  • Sir Ronald Deepwood, a neighbor
  • Police Constable Haynes
  • Detective-Inspector Lattimer
  • Detective-Superintendent Minchin of Scotland Yard

Locale: Cleeson, Yorkshire; on the moors of England

Synopsis: Dr. Merrivale picks up wandering George Fenchurch one night on the moors, and treats him for an ankle injury. Fenchurch is an artist who has come to paint scenes of old Cleeson Manor. However, it turns out the owner, Rupert Dykeminster, has gated off public access to the Manor grounds and set vicious dogs loose inside the gates. Fenchuch is determined to access the grounds. About the same time, Rupert is found dead from a poisonous blow dart, and the dogs found dead also. Fenchurch is the obvious suspect but willingly provides evidence it was not he.

Alicia Dykeminster is the sole heir to the estate (along with a list of strange conditions), and moves in to Cleeson Manor with her friend Veronica Starling despite various warnings. The manor holds a secret that many people want.

Friday, October 13, 2017

#8 - The Monster of Grammont by George Goodchild (1930)

dustjackets.com


About this edition: This is one of five titles released simultaneously in a Christmas boxed set. These are the only five titles appearing in the green cloth binding.


wikipedia

About the author: Here is a Wikipedia article and a Goodreads article about George Goodchild (1888-1969).

Characters:


  • Ralph Wallace
  • Julian "Connie" Conrad - war veteran
  • Monsieur Fallières - owner of Château Grammont
  • Yolande Fallières - his daughter
  • Monsieur Severin - servant at Château Grammont
  • Arnard Fouchard - of the police
  • Heinrich
  • Niels

Locale: France

Synopsis: Ralph Wallace and Connie Conrad are touring France and encounter Monsieur Fallières and his daughter Yolande, who own the massive Château Grammont; where Connie was billeted during the war.

It turns out the château is also home of a 'monster' who appears periodically, breaking mirrors, and is suspected in the death of a servant a year ago. Monsieur Fallières goes missing, then is found murdered, soom the servant Monsieur Severin is murdered also.

Meanwhile, young Ralph Wallace is attracted to Yolande, while Connie is interested in parlour maid Bertha - who has a couple of seedy associates, Heinrich and Niels, whom she secretly allows access to the house. Both they - and the 'monster' - are after something, but what?


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

#7 - The Day of Uniting by Edgar Wallace (1930)

dustjackets.com



About this edition: This is one of five titles released simultaneously in a Christmas boxed set. These are the only five titles appearing in the green cloth binding.





Edgar Wallace (photo: wikipedia)


About the author: Here is a Wikipedia article on Edgar Wallace. He also authored The Hand of Power in the Mystery League series.

Major characters: 

  • Jimmy Blake, 27, wealthy happy-go-lucky war ace
  • Gerald Van Roon, Jimmy's cousin, roommate, and scientist
  • Joe Sennett, foreman at Ponters Ltd.
  • Delia Sennett, Joe's daughter
  • Tom Elmers, employee at Ponters Ltd.
  • John Stamford Chapelle, Prime Minister of England
  • John Stope-Kendrick, Secretary of State
  • Walter Maggerson, mathematician and explorer
  • Lord Harry Weltman, Minister of Defence
  • Tyrhitt Palythorpe, ex-con, printer of Spice, a scandal sheet


Locale: England

Synopsis: Ponter's Ltd. is a commercial print shop, specializing in scientific texts. They also have a contract to printing government documents. One night foreman Joe Sennett catches Tom Elmers fooling around with the type.  It is found that someone is sabotaging the books being printed by inserting erroneous or nonsense text after the proofs have been approved. Highly embarrassing. 

Jimmy Blake, wealthy happy go lucky war ace, meets and is taken with Delia Sennett; daughter of foreman Joe Sennett. Blake gets an invite from his lodger, Gerald Van Roon, to a dinner of scientific types hosted by Prime Minister Chapelle. At the dinner, explorer Walter Maggerson staggers in begging the PM to stop "The Terror" (but no one knows what "The Terror" is).

Tyrhitt Palythorpe, ex-con and printer of a seamy scandal sheet, tries to lure Tom Elmers away to work for him. 

One night Gerald Van Roon is called away, and is soon found dead on the nearby heath. Soon John Stop-Kendrick dies also by his own hand, while running from "The Terror".

Whatever "The Terror" is, it is the main focus of a group of officials who meet at night in a vacant building and engage in a frenzy of activity to stop it.