Tuesday, August 15, 2017

#2 - The Curse of Doone by Sydney Horler (1930)

photo: dustjackets.com

About this edition: This edition has just the novel, with no promotional or preview material.

Sydney Horler (photo: vintage45.wordpress.com)

About the author: Here is a Wikipedia article about Sydney Horler. He has two other titles in the Mystery League series: Peril! and The False Purple.

  • Ian Heath / "Ronald Gavin", agent of the Foreign Branch of the British Secret Service
  • Jerry Hartsgill, old school chum of Ian Heath
  • Harker Bellamy, Heath's superior
  • Joe and Mrs. Dorrance, Heath's landlord and landlady
  • Cicely Garrett, American, recent resident of Doone Hall
  • Warren Murdoch, uncle of Cicely Garrett, inventor, and patriarch of Doone Hall
  • James Neale, butler of Doone Hall; and his wife Janet
  • Moses Grinstead, lawyer
  • Philip Voyce, neighbor to Doone Hall; although six miles distant
  • Professor Sapford, friend of Warren Murdoch
  • -- Gibson, local ex-con who lurks around the Hall
  • Gusta Straub, the woman with the monocle
  • Victor Von Kroon, the man with the scar
Locale: Doone Hall, Dartmoor, England

Synopsis: Ian Heath becomes enchanted with Cicely Garrett after two chance encounters in London. She lives at Doone Hall, mysterious home of her reclusive inventor uncle Warren Murdoch, on the lonely moors of Dartmoor. A flying figure, similar to a giant bat, is seen flying around outside of the Hall sometimes at night. Legend identifies it as the former owner, Vernon Coxonfield, a vampire - who is buried beneath the cellar floors of Doone Hall.

At attempt is made on the life of Ian Heath, and he allows news of his 'death' to circulate so he may investigate without interference. Ian travels to Dartmoor to stay with Jerry Hartsgill, who has a cottage near Doone Hall.

Cicely, in the obligatory nightgown-carrying-a-candle, explores a corridor of the Hall, and encounters a man with half a face.

Warren Murdoch hides his invention in the Hall, and confides details of his invention to his colleague, Professor Sapford, who is murdered soon after - apparently by a vampire. This is followed by the similar death of Moses Grinstead. Murdoch dies (of natural causes) which leads to a search for the invention.

Comments: Book contains stereotypical terms for African-Americans, unacceptable today but were in common use at time of writing.