Friday, December 28, 2012

Review: The Yellow Face by Fred M. White

There are books which you begin reading with great enthusiasm. Then slowly they start turning boring and repetitive, and finally so tedious that you just want them to come to an end so that you can be done with them. But unfortunately, the end takes lots of time in coming...

So it was with the book that I finished yesterday: Fred M. White's The Yellow Face. It is a thousand pities actually because the book began well. The whole of London is abuzz with one thing. Posters have sprung up all over the town bearing a striking looking yellow face with the word "Nostalgo" at its base.

What is the meaning of this poster and who could be behind it? If it is an advertising campaign than what is it a publicity for?

Meanwhile, a young, struggling lawyer, Jack Masefield has troubles of his own. He is in love with young, beautiful Clair and is convinced that her guardian, the noted criminologist Spencer Anstruther, is a criminal himself and is playing some deep game, and that the posters are part of some scheme of his. One day, after dinner, when Claire retires to her room and Anstruther to his study where he is heard playing the violin, Jack decides to linger on a little, captivated as he is by the music flowing out from the study. The next moment he is horrified to see Anstruther creeping about his own house like a robber even while the violin continues to play in his study. Determined to investigate, Jack places himself at a vantage position where he has a view of the study. The study is to all purpose empty! So then who is playing the violin? Suddenly two figures seem to materialise out of nowhere and communicate to each other through sign-language. Jack follows them to a party thrown by a noted banker of London and in the course of his adventures stumbles upon a corpse that has the same face as that of the Nostalgo in the posters. The next day, he is told by the police that the corpse has disappeared...

The book is gripping in the beginning but then if on page after page secrets are revealed because of overhearing conversations, hiding in the corners, and escaping by the skin of your teeth, than it puts your own teeth on the edge...


First Line: The flickering firelight fell upon the girl's pretty, thoughtful face; her violet eyes looked like deep lakes in it.

Title: The Yellow Face

Author: Fred M. White

First Published: 1906

Other Books read of the same author: None


The book can be downloaded from Project Gutenberg, Australia. A small part of the text is missing though.


Submitted for the following challenges: A-Z (Titles), AZRC, British Book, Color-Coded, Death by Gaslight, E-Book, Mystery and Suspense, New Authors, Vintage Mystery

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