'I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.' L.M. Montgomery

'There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.' Irving Stone

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Notting Hill Mystery by Charles Warren Adams

ISBN: 9781464204807
Genre: Mystery/Thriller 
My source: Netgalley

The Notting Hill Mystery was first published between 1862 and 1863 as an eight-part serial in the magazine Once a Week, written under the pseudonym Charles Felix. It has been widely described as the first detective novel, pre-dating as it does other novels such as Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone (1868) and Emile Gaboriau's first Monsieur Lecoq novel (1869) that have previously claimed that accolade. The story is told by insurance investigator Ralph Henderson, who is building a case against the sinister Baron 'R___', suspected of murdering his wife in order to obtain significant life insurance payments. Henderson descends into a maze of intrigue including a diabolical mesmerist, kidnapping by gypsies, slow-poisoners, a rich uncle's will and three murders. Presented in the form of diary entries, family letters, chemical analysis reports, interviews with witnesses and a crime scene map, the novel displays innovative techniques that would not become common features of detective fiction until the 1920s. Now made available again, with George du Maurier's original illustrations included for the first time since the original serial publication, this new edition of The Notting Hill Mystery will be welcomed by all fans of detective fiction.

Really good puzzler and fantastic murder mystery, but... It is written in a strange format. the entire story is told through the reports from the insurance investigator along with the witness statements and excerpts from diaries. All very formal and tidy. For people who like the plot and the puzzle and the 'just the facts ma'm, just the facts'  the most, this is right up your alley. But if you are character driven then this might not trip your trigger. I did know the solution quickly into the book but the fun of it is reading the how we got there I guess. 

The introduction by Martin Edwards was worth the read though!

Purchase this book...

Peggy Ann


  1. I rushed to buy this from Amazon and later discovered I had already downloaded it from Gutenberg. But I don't regret it at all, because I like to encourage the publishers to keep reprinting the old classics!

  2. Replies
    1. I went to ebooks back in about 2007 when my sister gave me an eBookwise for Christmas. I told her it's the most wonderful present I ever got and I am still using it, although I have tried a Kindle. Now that we have radically downsized and live in a travel trailer, I am so thankful for it. When I think of all the years I hauled around boxes and boxes of books . . . I know people say they love the feel of "real" books but for me it's the content, not the appearance.

    2. Patty, Gutenberg has many formats to choose from, ePub, mobi, PDF. Just like reading any other ebook. I won't read PDF on my Kobo but it's okay on the iPad.

    3. Audra, I love ebooks because I can get so many free and take lots with me when we travel and not have the big bag of books I use to haul everywhere. But I love old books and the feel of them in my hands really brings me as much joy as the reading. Living in a travel trailer though you sure wouldn't have room for books! Thank heavens for the ereader!


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