today, I read two stories contained in this book: 'The Vanishing of Mrs Fraser' by Basil Thomson, and 'A Mystery of the Sand-Hills' by R. Austin Freeman. the latter tale was better, in my opinion; I found the Thomson story a bit contrived and far-fetched. I think the conspirators in that story enacted a scheme that anyone could look at and say "this is full of holes, this is not going to work". the second story starred Freeman's sleuth, Dr. Thorndyke, who was, in his heyday, comparable to Sherlock Holmes, in his ability to examine something and find ten things, unnoticeable to everyone else, to help him solve a case. that's on display here, to good effect, as is the fairly lackluster writing style that kept the author from rivaling Arthur Conan Doyle, in terms of lasting popularity. nevertheless--though straightforward enough to be called wooden, the style is certainly very clear, and I can't imagine R. Austin Freeman--when speaking through his creation Thorndyke--ever laying out the clues and solution to a complex case in a confusing manner. having been warned about the dull style, I dealt with it and focused on the fairly entertaining Murder Mystery exhibited, and had a lot of fun during my introduction to this author.
I'm excited about the next author I'm to encounter in this book...H. C. Bailey. his short stories are supposed to greatly outshine his novels, and his style is supposed to be unique and memorable, as applied to Mystery stories a bit ahead of their time in terms of deeper-than-typical probings (for the time) of human psychology and human cruelty. so I have high expectations for what's to come in my next "Holiday Mystery".