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The Golden Beast by E. Phillips Oppenheim
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The Golden Beast

by E. Phillips Oppenheim

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The English novelist E. Phillips Oppenheim was a popular writer of "thrillers" and suspense novels during the first half of the 20th century. Between 1887 and 1943, he is said to have written over 100 novels and 37 collections of short stories -- a prodigious output that could be matched by few if any of his contemporaries. Beyond his most famous novel, "The Great Impersonator", his work is seldom- read today. However, copies of his books from the 1920s through 1940s show up in library sales and used book shops. That's where I found this item, published in 1926, with a characteristic gold cover to match the title.

It's an unsual and strange work of fiction -- and it caught my attention and kept it. Half-way through the book I was still not sure what sort of work it was -- a mystery? a romance? a drama? Oppenheim keeps the reader guessing, in an intriguing story whose elements seem not to connect -- until they do. True, the mystery turns out to have an implausible explanation (in light of current knowledge); and there is a very dated presentation of ethnicity (the main characters are Jewish). But I was entertained enough to withhold judgement on both. I shall keep watching for other works by this somewhat - forgotten author. ( )
4 vote danielx | Jun 13, 2012 |
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