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Project Project Gutenberg: The Crimson Blind

August 5, 2009

[Project:  Project Gutenberg–where I’m reading and reviewing public-domain fiction from Project Gutenberg from A to Z]

Aren’t those pie cherries pretty?  They haven’t got a thing to do with today’s novel, except that they’re crimson.

So, The Crimson Blind. 1905, by Fred M(errick) White.  White was a prolific early writer of genre fiction–science fiction, spy stories, and murder mysteries.

The Crimson Blind is an excellent read, if just a trifle long for my modern tastes (and I say that as a woman who has often wished Little Dorrit was longer).  Our hero, David Steel, is an extravagant and careless crime novelist who is about to be sent into shameful bankruptcy by a temporary cash flow problem.  So when a mysterious (female) voice calls him on his up-to-the-minute telephone and offers him that much in cash money to show up at a stranger’s house at midnight and tell her how to fake her own death, he’s all over it.  Alas, when he’s fulfilled the errand and returned home, he finds a dead body in his conservatory.  Financial problem solved, criminal problem just beginning.

The Crimson Blind owes an enormous debt to Dickens, whose influence was not entirely good for the novel.  There’s a Miss Havisham double, a Magwitch double–even some Dickensian dogs . . .

Still, romance, crime, and high tech devices like the ‘phone, bicycle, and skeleton keys.  It’s a fine way to pass a summer afternoon. (And there were no spankings whatsoever!)

Grade:  B+

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 14, 2009 8:04 am

    OK, I’m beginning to think that you should just send your planned reading straight to me, since it is clearly picked to cater for my low tastes, and I haven’t the strength to tackle China Miéville just at the moment!

  2. melyndahuskey permalink*
    August 14, 2009 11:50 pm

    In theory, I’m picking these at random. In practice, I’m choosing genre fiction from the first two decades of the 20th century–because I LOVE IT!

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