MR. VON STAEL FIGHTS THE MOB, or Silver Spoon [The Innocents at Large Mysteries] by Clarence Budington Kelland

Romantic comedy, oddball characters, murder and mobsters, and all the usual Kelland magic fill this classic riches-to-rags and rags-to-riches novel!

"A blending of tense drama, high adventure, delightful comedy and unusual romance." —Birmingham News

"Romance and the clearing up of a murder keep things lively in this sterling 'Silver Spoon' success story. A fast-moving, entertaining book with definite reader appeal." —New York Times

"Clarence Budington Kelland has the rare gift of bringing home the truth in a manner that is lighthearted and amusing, and in this book deals with the subject of class consciousness as practiced in this country. The hero of his story is one Ogden Pieter Van Stael, last of his family, and heir to a great fortune. The story opens on Ogden's twenty-sixth birthday which promises to be as boring as any other day to the mild young man who keeps himself in perfect physical condition, has never been in any kind of trouble, has never felt the urge to become intoxicated, and who is interested in absolutely nothing at all. He has never been trained to do any specific kind of work and has no intention of ever doing any.

A friend throws him a birthday party in a popular night club and Ogden is, as usual, bored with the proceedings and is waiting for the moment when the rest of the party have reached a stage of alcoholic indifference in so he can slip home without his absence even being noted. However, one of the patrons of the club insults him and Ogden suddenly feels the need of a stimulant. So, for the first time in his life Ogden Pieter Van Stael, drinks too much, becomes involved in an fateful argument concerning his ability to earn his own living and wagers he can go out into the world and make his own way for three months without drawing on any of his inheritance.

After that he loses his party of friends, blunders into a cheap night club, applauds vigorously the performance of a red-headed strip tease artist, walks unannounced into an office in the club, sees a man lying on the floor, with a huge, broad shouldered person bending over him, while the red-headed dancer hurries out of the place. Then something hits him on the head with terrific force and Ogden wakes up in a meadow far from New York, dressed in a tramp's clothes, without a cent in his pockets. He learns that a dead man dressed in his clothes has been found and he is publicly mourned, on the heels of which comes an announcement by his guardian that the Van Stael fortune has vanished and that the heir is better off dead since he would have been absolutely penniless.

Ogden meets night club dancer, Peggy, again and she helps him plan his new life. He obtains work as a helper on a truck and for the first time finds out how the average person lives and that he likes it. Then he sets out to make a success of himself, opposed by a rival trucking firm run by a mobster who employs only the most ruthless and brutal tactics. The manner in which he does it forms one of the most amusing and interesting novels ever written by Clarence Budington Kelland." —Allentown Daily Call

"A worthy addition to the long list of good tales produced by Kelland." —Rochester Democrat and Call

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About the Author

Clarence Budington Kelland is a legendary Golden Age author of mystery and romantic suspense. Kelland penned some 100 novels, and selling them as serials to the biggest and highest-paying magazines of the time—like The Saturday Evening Post and The American Magazine. Many were immortalized on film, of which the romantic suspense comedy and Oscar winner, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, is undoubtedly the most famous. Kelland appeared alongside Agatha Christie, Rex Stout and Erle Stanley Gardner in the same magazines, but was the most popular of the four. His trademark dialogue and deftly plotted stories “made him an American tradition and won him more loyal, devoted readers than almost any other living author.” Kelland described himself as “the best second-rate writer in the world.” His legions of fans would likely disagree. There is nothing second-rate about his work.