"[Oppenheim is] a master of mystery." —The New York World
In these eleven mystery tales, E. Phillips Oppenheim, the master of spy and mystery thrillers, takes us to London in the early 20th Century and the world of Clara, Baroness Linz—English by birth, Austrian by marriage, and cosmopolitan by choice. Self-supporting and independent long before women's liberation. Clara founds a detective agency because, as she remarks to a friend, "most of the vocations for women are so overcrowded, and I wanted something to do."
Clara is young and beautiful, with a sympathetic manner—practically everyone she meets deems her a lovely, intelligent woman. The eleven puzzles that she unravels in this collection range from the Empire-threatening, when a newspaper owner has the power to topple the government, to the curious tale of a debutante's broken engagement. This is a world where family and personal honor are as important as life itself, and a man may choose to die rather than live in shame. The junior official at the Japanese Embassy in "An Olympian Debacle" and the British gentleman who asks for Clara's help in "Broken Engagements" are brothers under the skin, honor-bound to the end. We also meet a frantic clothing manufacturer in "Help for Mister Goldman," the terribly-eligible young millionaire of "A Gift From the Gods," the terrified doctor's wife in "A Family Misunderstanding," and the tragic mother in "The Lonely Man," are believable and interesting. Although the rogues in these tales may be villainous, they are never dull.
Oppenheim, the most successful suspense novelist of the 1890s-1920s with over 130 books to his credit, has been called "a past master of the art of telling a story" by The New York Times. The Boston Post raved that "Oppenheim has few equals among modern novelists—a clever weaver of the plausible with the sensational in the invention of mysterious plots." His works include The Great Impersonation, The Box with the Broken Seals, and The Malefactor.