This was my choice for One of the most interesting elements of the book for me was the glimpse it afforded into what is likely to have been the atmosphere in expectant London during that week. The American protagonist, who enjoys reading these ads, decides to also resort to this medium in order to get to know a fellow American girl that has taken his fancy. The mystery that unfolds is related in the seven letters he sends to her and is well constructed with a good build up of tension. View all 13 comments. I am without words to describe how much I enjoyed this work of artful mystery.
To the very end it held my attention and I wasn't disappointed as I am so many times with modern day authors. Maybe an old school mystery that new school authors should take notice of. Lots of intrigue and romance without explicit sex, much to my liking. I have always been a huge fan of Biggers' Charlie Chan movies, just sorry I never read any of his books. You can be sure I won't forget him and am going after more of I am without words to describe how much I enjoyed this work of artful mystery.
You can be sure I won't forget him and am going after more of his craft. View all 3 comments. I love it! I read most of it out loud -- it was just that fun to read. This is a short 70 pages? Our story takes place just as World War I is starting to brew. A shy young American man is in London on a long business trip.
Every morning at breakfast in the hotel dining room he reads two newspapers -- one for the actual news and one for t 4. Every morning at breakfast in the hotel dining room he reads two newspapers -- one for the actual news and one for the "Agony Column" or "personal notices". For the younger set, imagine an early version of perhaps Facebook or Twitter, they even used the same type of abbreviations now used in texting. People would pay to have anonymous messages in the paper, for many different reasons, but often to try and find or communicate with someone you do not know, but have only seen from afar.
Usually with the goal of a romantic relationship. Example: "Would the lady who left in the taxi and waved, care to know the gentleman in the gray tweed coat? If so, meet in Cross Street Cafe Thursday next at 2pm. A young American woman is on a long visit to London with her father and is seen by our young man in the same hotel dining room, and she's reading and enjoying the Agony Column. He falls in love at first sight! And being too shy to approach her, he anonymously decides to place an ad in hopes that she'll respond.
She does respond, via her own ad placed in the paper. But she requires him to write a letter to her each day for seven days and at the end she'll determine if he's someone she'd like to actually meet in person. He starts out sweetly enough describing his daily activity and the beautiful garden outside his window. A murder. And now war is about to break out in England and our young couple are caught up in a tense mystery and have yet to even meet!
I loooved this story!! Loved the twist at the end. The objectionable bits: two somewhat mild and briefly described deaths my tender sensibilities could handle it just fine and one section shows the time period in which this was written by using a few prejudicial terms for people who were not of the Anglo-Saxon persuasion; e.
Side note. I love some of the terms used in these vintage books. Don't think I've ever come across "well-tubbed" before! And "twaddle" is one of my all time favorites. View all 6 comments. Sep 29, John rated it it was amazing. It's hard to describe how much I was charmed and fascinated by this short novel.
There's a very good reason. Decades ago I watched maybe three or four of the Charlie Chan movies, based on Biggers's characters, and took a fair scunner against them. I'm not sure I was right in my perception of them as patronizingly racist and all-round crass; I suppose I really ough It's hard to describe how much I was charmed and fascinated by this short novel. I'm not sure I was right in my perception of them as patronizingly racist and all-round crass; I suppose I really ought to rewatch one or two but, y'know, yawn.
Of course, that shouldn't have affected any feelings I might have had about Biggers's original novels -- those novels that I hadn't read -- but of course, since I'm human and therefore all too fallible don't tell my wife, who I'm sure hasn't yet sussed this out , it did.
Agony column may refer to: The Agony Column, a novel by Earl Derr Biggers; A column of a newspaper that contains advertisements of missing relatives and. Start by marking “The Agony Column” as Want to Read: The Agony Column is a classic mystery novel by the creator of Charlie Chan. Earl Derr Biggers was born in Warren, Ohio on August 24,
Exactly the opposite was true. The writing in The Agony Column is really quite superb; I've read far less well written novels that are widely regarded as yer literature. Over and again I found myself grinning at the aptness of Biggers's turns of phrase and the rhythm of his prose -- although most of the time I was sufficiently rapt in his tale that I noticed nothing of such technicalities. The narrative bubbled along merrily with me in happy pursuit.
The plot? Oh, yes. While she fobs off his suggestions that they meet again, she grants him permission to send her seven letters. But then calamity befalls him. As he describes to her in those seven letters, the man upstairs from him is murdered, and he himself becomes a prime suspect. As he continues to tell his tale, we witness her increasing involvement in his fortunes. The solution to the murder, when it comes, is so improbable that I was tempted to dismiss the novel as one of great promise but let down by its ending, but then I read the real solution to it all and I was simultaneously chuckling and applauding.
As noted, The Agony Column is quite short -- easy to read in an evening -- and I found it very rewarding indeed. And it has erased entirely my prejudices against Biggers. I'm not sure how eager I am to plunge into the Charlie Chan saga, but I'd not be surprised if some of his standalones feature in my future reading. Pretty soon, in fact. View 2 comments. Jul 07, PenNPaper52 rated it it was amazing. It took me quite a while to start this book. It appeared to be an old fashioned, slow, artsy type of book which always is difficult for my hyperactive brain to grasp.
But whoa!!!!! When I started, it was a gem of a book that I recommend everyone to read. In this age of Facebook, Twitter, the Personals online, the classified section of the local paper is a romantic way to meet your one true love. Geoffrey West has a routine.
He picks the paper and walks to a nearby hotel to enjoy his breakfast wh It took me quite a while to start this book. He picks the paper and walks to a nearby hotel to enjoy his breakfast while he reads the Agony Column. He pokes fun at the secret admirers, that is until he glances up and sees her. He notices she too has the paper and soon discovers she is a fan of the Agony Columns like him.
The idea of becoming one of those ridiculous secret admirers comes to him and soon his Lady and He are corresponding.
He pours everything that happens to him, kinda like what we do in Twitter, to her and Trust me its not your usual romantic affair Jan 05, John rated it liked it Shelves: adventure , romance. Difficult book to rate.
Highly entertaining, but also very frustrating, especially for modern audiences. The framing device for this story is cute, and it really keeps you guessing as to whether the narrator is actually on the level. It's excellently written and briskly paced, and, at just over a hundred pages, it's smart enough not to overstay its welcome.
But the book lacks tension, because we never know until the end just how much of it was really supposed to have happened. The narrator's goal Difficult book to rate. The narrator's goal is to impress his lady-love, after all, so one must take everything he says with a grain of salt.
Kaye blended these two elements as well as Earl Derr Biggers. Silence may bo. Be more specific, and. Will he clear his name before she returns to Texas? His letters are fascinating accounts of who he is and how he becomes involved regarding the murder of the person who lives in the rooms above his and what happens as a result. The wording is very flowery and the method of courtship is somewhat dated, but it captures an era, much to the delight of fans of the era.
Which brings us to another problem. The romance angle in this novel is utterly ridiculous from a modern standpoint. Not only does the whole love-at-first-sight thing seem rather antiquated, but the main character sounds like a crazed stalker every time he expresses his undying love for a woman he's never even met and only briefly seen. Also, as an American traveling throughout England, he is quick to stereotype just about every British person he comes across.
I was also disappointed that the Agony Column itself played such a small role in the novel. Not sure why Derr Biggers selected that for the title, other than it sounds cool. Ultimately, the story resolved exactly the way I would have expected, had I not assumed the author capable of coming up with something better.
Very disappointing, and a huge waste of potential. Jul 23, Dagny rated it really liked it. In England "The Agony Column" was the name of the personal advertisements in newspapers. The story begins in a rather light-hearted way with an American visiting London and being quite taken by an American girl he sees breakfasting with her father at a London Hotel.
Since arriving in London he has been fascinated by The Agony Column. He has seen numerous ads placed by persons who saw someone that interested them in passing and requested a meeting. Wondering what he has to loss, he places an ad t In England "The Agony Column" was the name of the personal advertisements in newspapers. Wondering what he has to loss, he places an ad to the girl he saw at breakfast. After a few days she replies that, since she is interested in mystery and romance, he may write her one letter every day for a week.
When he sees her reply he thinks to himself: "We must have mystery and romance. But where - where shall we find them? Dec 23, Chandini rated it it was amazing Shelves: great-britain , novella , mystery , romance , crime. I'm smiling even as I write this review of an unconventional mystery story. I don't want to give away the plot so I'll just say it's very charming and everyone who likes a touch of mystery and romance in their lives should enjoy it unspoilt.
Aug 30, Bettie rated it liked it Recommended to Bettie by: Wanda. Shelves: shortstory-shortstories-novellas , summer , mystery-thriller. Bettie's Books. Mar 02, Yibbie rated it it was amazing Shelves: mysteries , favorites. Very suspenseful! I've read it twice. Quite a surprise at the end. Shelves: read , suspense-thriller , fictionth-century , e-books , short-stories. According to Wikipedia , this book was also published as Second Floor Mystery in Free download at Gutenberg Project.
View 1 comment. From my book blog www. The spine was tight and the pages unmarked in this reprint of the original edition, complete with a decorative strawberry plant illustration across the top of each page, like the plates would have in the olden days. The Agony Column is slight and fanciful, filled From my book blog www. The Agony Column is slight and fanciful, filled with intrigue and budding romance. Written in before he wrote the Charlie Chan novels it is still an entertaining read and can now be enjoyed by everyone to download free online. London, that historic Summer, was almost unbearably hot.
It was and the Great War was about to break out. Germany was mobilizing! Geoffrey West breakfasts as usual at the Carlton hotel, when a very beautiful young lady and her father enter the dining room. He was just enjoying a plate of strawberries as she exclaims to the waiter how much she dislikes them. He notices they are both reading the same paper, in fact the Agony Column - another name for the personals, where lovers could make arrangements or communicate secretly.
The kind of girl who would read the column is looking for an adventure, and he relates a strange tale of spies and murder that took place in his very apartment building. Captain Fraser-Freer had returned from Rangoon, India and that night had been stabbed - indeed, right above his flat. He becomes involved with the police, helping them as best he can, before their suspicion falls on Geoffrey himself!
Each successive letter draws Marion into the mystery - along with the reader! Will he clear his name before she returns to Texas? Will he find the true killer? The conclusion of the mystery was meant to surprise and I must say I was! Being written in , the language was a little dated, sure, but that just added to the atmosphere. A mystery with opium dens, international spies, the breakout of war, and several players all confessing to the murder at once - what else can you ask for?
It is short but well packed! Clever and charming, I recommend you download it online for free - it's perfect for an afternoon on the deck or curled up on the couch. Oct 06, George rated it it was amazing. It is love at first sight for him. He is so smitten, that he places an ad in the column addressed to her stating his interest.
The narration continues as expressed in his well written daily letters which she looks forward to. His letters are fascinating accounts of who he is and how he becomes involved regarding the murder of the person who lives in the rooms above his and what happens as a result. It is narration of high drama and romance between two people who have never met! Jul 07, Rick rated it it was amazing Shelves: in-anthologies.
Ah, now this is what I was hoping for when I started this anthology. Short, slightly silly, and very entertaining. It does leave some mysteries unanswered, though I confess that I'm still wondering what precisely all those letters to the agony column actually meant! Dec 19, Ev rated it liked it. I decided to read this one as Earl Derr Biggers is from my home town.
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