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The House of the Arrow (1924)

by A. E. W. Mason

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Inspector Hanaud (3)

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731292,030 (3.85)8
The House of the Arrow is a detective novel that has inspired movies in Fench in English. It features the fictional French detective Inspector Hanaud.
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In this third instalment of the Hanaud series (but the second novel-length tale) the famous French inspector is searching, solving, and sorting matters is his own unique way, succeeding where others have failed.

Hanaud is an interesting and engaging character, appearing comical one minute, woeful the next, and wrathful the next. Mr Mason has done a good job with his lead actor, making Hanaud likeable and believable.

Certain elements of this tale resemble those in Book 1 – “At the Villa Rose” – in that the initial investigation centres on the murder of a middle-aged woman who has a young female companion living with her in a large home. Other elements here are also repeated from Book 1 but won’t mention any more for fear of revealing spoilers.

Also similar to “At the Villa Rose”, I worked out early on who was *not* guilty of murder and who *was* the guilty party. I also guessed another evil-doer soon after their appearance.

This doesn’t mean the story on the whole is too predictable or unoriginal, as the plotting is very well worked out. Knowing who is or is not guilty is one thing, yet finding out how one character is proved to be at fault and how another is set to prove their innocence is another matter.

Despite my admiration for the author’s plotting skills, I think I would’ve like this better with more action/dramatization and less explaining/guessing about things. Additionally, I feel that a certain desperate and dangerous situation for a character (who I won’t name for spoiler reasons) is resolved too quickly.

The author would’ve created more suspense and enthrallment by squeezing more out of this scenario and preferably not reveal everything so early as the subsequent chapter is robbed of all suspense with the reader knowing how things will transpire. In short, two later chapters would’ve been more effective if swapped around and been vividly dramatized rather than being recalled and explained.

As a result, I rate this novel 4 stars rather than the 5 that it has the potential for. “At the Villa Rose” appealed to me greatly, while “The House of the Arrow” just appeals to me. ( )
3 vote PhilSyphe | Oct 22, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
A. E. W. Masonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gilbert, MichaelAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Slagt-Prins, M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Messrs. Frobisher & Haslitt, the solicitors on the east side of Russell Square, counted amongst their clients a great many who had undertakings established in France; and the firm was very proud of this branch of its business.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The House of the Arrow is a detective novel that has inspired movies in Fench in English. It features the fictional French detective Inspector Hanaud.

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'Anonymous letters - two girls and an aunt - Russian uncle - death of the aunt - blackmail - other girl gets lawyer - both fall in love with him - he finds out murder has been committed.' These are jottings in the notebook of A.E.W. Mason and form the basis of the novel. Its location is France and also has Inspector Hanaud of the Surete investigating the circumstances  of the crime.
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