The Clue - Carolyn Wells

This is a rare classic mystery that I just really didn't enjoy at all, even taking into consideration the differences in the way that classic mysteries are plotted/presented. It took me nearly a month to finish this slender, 225 page book, which probably tells you everything you need to know.

 

The writing was stiff and the characters were universally wafer thin. It purports to be an entry in the "Fleming Stone" series, but the great detective himself isn't even mentioned until the 87% mark, and he essentially swans into the story at around 90%, receives all of the information from the individuals who have collected it, pronounces a rather preposterous solution and it's a wrap.

 

The representation of female characters is absolutely terrible - even worse than is often the case in books published during early twentieth century (this book was published in 1909). Each woman had some assigned trait from which she was forbidden to stray: the victim was majestic and haughty; Kitty, the apparent love interest, was bewitching and clever; there was a genuine French maid, who was stormy and dramatic; and Dorothy was the clinging rosebud (whatever the hell that is), timid and appealing.

 

I am willing to concede that, perhaps, every book written by Carolyn Wells wasn't as awful as this one. I'm not entirely certain, however, that I'm prepared to read any more so as to find out.