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No. 17 (Ben the Tramp Mystery) by J.…
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No. 17 (Ben the Tramp Mystery) (original 1926; edition 2016)

by J. Jefferson Farjeon (Author)

Series: Ben the Tramp (1)

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342617,512 (2.79)31
The first book featuring Ben, the lovable, humorous ex-sailor and down-at-heels rascal who can't help running into trouble. Ben is back home from the Merchant Navy, penniless as usual and looking for digs in fog-bound London. Taking shelter in an abandoned old house, he stumbles across a dead body - and scarpers. Running into a detective, Gilbert Fordyce, the reluctant Ben is persuaded to return to the house and investigate the mystery of the corpse - which promptly disappears! The vacant No.17 is the rendezvous for a gang of villains, and the cowardly Ben finds himself in the thick of thieves with no way of escape. Ben's first adventure, No.17, began life in the 1920s as an internationally successful stage play and was immortalised on film by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock. Its author, J. Jefferson Farjeon, wrote more than 60 crime thrillers, eight featuring Ben the tramp, his most popular character.… (more)
Member:PriyankiDey
Title:No. 17 (Ben the Tramp Mystery)
Authors:J. Jefferson Farjeon (Author)
Info:Collins Crime Club (2016), 224 pages
Collections:Your library
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No. 17 by J. Jefferson Farjeon (1926)

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Once more the inmates of the room missed something through lacking eyes in the backs of their heads. The passage door slowly and softly opened, and a figure crouched in the aperture. A big, broad-shouldered figure, with one shoulder higher than the other.
‘Now, then, don’t pretend you don’t know anything about these diamonds,’ rasped Brant. ‘The telegram mentioned them—’
‘Oh, what’s the use?’ muttered Henry.

Oh, what's the use indeed. This one was pretty bad, but it was made even worse by knowing that Farjeon was actually a terrific writer as evidenced by his other books Mystery in White and Thirteen Guests.

This book, however, ... If the convoluted plot about a jewel robbery hadn't been enough to make my eyes roll, then the really insipid conversations between the characters which seemed to consist mostly of catch-phrases and idioms but no clearly articulated trains of thought, would have been enough to make me reach for the wine.

And of course, we also have the main character, Ben the Tramp, the former merchant seaman, to whom I just couldn't warm up to. There is nothing I could see that makes him out as rounded character - he seems to remain a caricature throughout the book.

This is one 1930s mystery series that I am going to give a miss. ( )
  BrokenTune | May 26, 2020 |
It wasn't awful, but it isn't great and it hasn't aged well. I wasn't a fan of the lead character Ben, either as a mystery lead or as a character in general: he is to men of the road what Dick van Dyke's Bert is to chimney sweeps. The mystery itself isn't very strong either, although the denouement is better that some of the earlier parts.

I've enjoyed several of Farjeon's other novels, and I'll read more of them, but I won't be revisiting the Ben the Tramp series. ( )
2 vote catherinestead | Aug 2, 2017 |
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Fog had London by the throat.
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The first book featuring Ben, the lovable, humorous ex-sailor and down-at-heels rascal who can't help running into trouble. Ben is back home from the Merchant Navy, penniless as usual and looking for digs in fog-bound London. Taking shelter in an abandoned old house, he stumbles across a dead body - and scarpers. Running into a detective, Gilbert Fordyce, the reluctant Ben is persuaded to return to the house and investigate the mystery of the corpse - which promptly disappears! The vacant No.17 is the rendezvous for a gang of villains, and the cowardly Ben finds himself in the thick of thieves with no way of escape. Ben's first adventure, No.17, began life in the 1920s as an internationally successful stage play and was immortalised on film by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock. Its author, J. Jefferson Farjeon, wrote more than 60 crime thrillers, eight featuring Ben the tramp, his most popular character.

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