Title: The Terrible People
Author: Edgar Wallace
Number of pages 316
Publication date: 1926
A curse launched by a murder-thief moments before he was going to be hung for his crimes, a deadly conspiracy done by powerful people, impossible murders in close rooms, people who aren’t who you think they are and a longtime buried family secret. All of this spice up by a set of well-defined characters set in the London of the decade of 1920.
When I first started reading this book I was hooked upon the second page. The main character, a wealthy inspector named Arnold Long, will have to act fast to maintain himself and the life of those related to the imprisonment of the murderer-falsification-thief Clayton Shelton has been threaten by a group of people called the Terrible People , who are seeking revenge for the incarceration of their partner. I have enjoyed Arnold as an inspector, as he is very perspicacious which might as well remind you of Hercules Poirot or Sherlock Holmes at some point as he always seems to detect proof and information no one else seems to catch based on the most insignificant piece of information.
His counterpart, Calyton Shelton, only presence in the beginning of the book as he is hung in the very first chapter, will make you want to know more about him and the psychology behind his acts. For me, the fact that the main opposite character is dead is unusual in a book, as I have not read many books in which the “Bad guy” is only known by the audience by what third parties says and think about him or what Arnold Long can dig about his past. Even though this is the case for Clayton Shelton you can make a good picture about what was his life like and why he did what he did.
The storyline of the book is good, with turns and twists you don’t expect and a fast rhythm. Sometimes I find that the description or information shared by the author is too quick as later on you can read that that same information was vital for the investigation. I must admit that I usually read mystery and crime books in which the author shares all the information about the case and you can pretty make assumptions on what happened and who the killer is. In this case, I find that you can still try to make those assumptions but you don’t count with all the information so you can end up being wrong. Nevertheless this is not a problem to keep enjoying the book.
Definitely a book I recommend. I will repeat on this author.
This is my opinion but I would like to know yours! 🙂