Chief of the Intelligence Department Sir Leonard Wallace - bearing always the hallmark of coolness and wit - is up to his earlobes in trouble. Summoned by the Viceroy of India, he makes a rapid flight to India to investigate the mysterious death of British officer Major Elliot and the theft of some very important dispatches.
©1928 The Alexander Wilson Estate (P)2015 W F Howes Ltd
"A romping read.... James Bond may find he has a worthy rival." (Daily Mail)
"The dialogue is reminiscent of that in the early Agatha Christie novels, and there is an air of Simon Templar about Wallace, who seems to be always one step ahead of everyone else." (Books Monthly)
Overly melodramatic and not my cup of tea. Our hero, Wallace, would actually have made a good silent movie character, with his daring chases, escapes, gun battles, and rescues. Lots of chase scenes, secret passages, upper crust Englishmen running India, and Russian and Indian spies. At one point, after having been seriously burned in a fire, Wallace bravely checks himself out of the hospital to continue his search for some missing documents. Strangely, his blistered skin is not painful, nor is his burned hand. I am not sure whether I will make it to the end or not. The book was written in the 30's and plays like a Grade B black and white spy movie.
The narrator's character voices are good but I find his narrative sections grating. Just a personal preference. Others may not be bothered.
"Passable adventure story"
This book has to be seen in its context; this is a 1920's English adventure story. If you are looking for gritty realism, then you are in the wrong place. It is brimming with stiff upper lip, dastardly villains, delicate but plucky ladies and a suave, assured hero. It is a passable adventure to while away a long drive, although one can see why the series has not passed the test of time in the same way as John Buchan's Richard Hannay novels.
I started this intrigued by some reviews of its racism and portrayal of Indian characters. I feel this is a very unreasonable imposition of modern values on quite a gentle period piece. Take that level of censorship and we would wipe out pretty much every work of fiction before 1950, and quite a lot since.
All in all, a light, frothy listen, but not a series I will return to.
It is wonderful to have access to these stories from the Golden Age of Crime Fiction - a wonderful ripping yarn!!!
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