Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: The Green Rust by Edgar Wallace

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line.

The Green Rust by Edgar Wallace

Edgar Wallace with about 200 titles to his name is one the most prolific writers ever and he’s the creator of King Kong!

The Green Rust, written in 1919 (one of 3 novels he published that year) begins with a bang-as all good melodramas should.

We meet Mr. John Millinborn, deathly ill and attended by the local Dr. van Heerden, telling his lawyer about Miss Olivia Predeaux, the niece he has never met. He has just left his entire fortune to her and charges Mr. Kitson with finding her and protecting her from unscrupulous men. Mr. Millinborn has added what he thinks is another protection for Olivia-she is not to inherit until she is married.

Before the first chapter is finished, a hobo has been seen lurking around, we have met the main villain and Mr. Millinborn has been murdered in his bed!

Although the action keeps apace, it doesn’t always make the most sense but that hardly seems to matter: the strength of the book is in the wonderful characters. Olivia Cresswell/ Predeaux is delightful and Mr. Beale, the private detective Mr. Kitson has hired to find and protect Olivia is charming. Dr. van Heerden, a German posing as Dutch, is devious, unscrupulous and revengeful. (He has an evil plan to destroy the Allies wheat crop.)

My favorite part: definitely the window scene in chapter 20. Trust me-this scene gives Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet a run for the money.

Read by Don W. Jenkins (in a hardy Western voice that made me rather surprised to find that this book takes place in England!) you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here.

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