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'Vanishing Men' (1927)

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  • miketooney49
    VANISHING MEN. By G. McLeod Winsor. William Morrow & Co. 1927. $2.00 The book has a somber often humorless tone thanks in large part to the extremely uptight
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 22, 2013
      VANISHING MEN. By G. McLeod Winsor.
      William Morrow & Co. 1927. $2.00

      "The book has a somber often humorless tone thanks
      in large part to the extremely uptight Henry Fordyce
      as narrator. But the adventures and multiple puzzles
      keep the reader engaged. Only the introduction of the
      at times sappy love story subplot periodically detracts
      from what otherwise is an intriguing mystery that soon
      becomes a science fiction adventure."
      - John, 'Pretty Sinister Books'
      - http://tinyurl.com/btqehcq

      "The strict detective story, according to Mr.
      Eliot, consists of an event in the first chapter
      or chapters and everything following it tends
      to the detection of the actors in that event.
      On that basis some extremely interesting
      mystery stories fail to qualify, among them
      the best of the season's stories: 'Vanishing
      Men' (Morrow) by MacLeod Winsor (an
      author for whom Eliot predicts quite a future).
      In 'Vanishing Men' there are five or six
      consecutive disappearances, and the remark-
      able thing is that one gets no sense of monotony;
      each leads naturally to another and each
      involves the detectives in more false starts
      and errors. The solution of this excellent mystery
      requires the intervention of a scientific discovery
      still unknown to man, and although this is usually
      irritating, the author has planted it perfectly and it
      seems much more natural than most of the South
      American poisons and East Indian magics to which
      detective story readers are becoming a bit indif-
      ferent. Not only Inspector Gilmour, in 'Vanishing
      Men', but the whole personnel of the Criminal
      Investigation Department of Scotland Yard, show
      developed character, and the narrator is extremely
      well done. Even among first-rate stories this one
      would be a pleasure; among second-rate ones it is
      a godsend."
      - 'The Bookman,' September 1927, "Diplomat's
      Delight," by Gilbert Seldes
      - http://www.unz.org/Pub/Bookman-1927sep-00091?View=PDFPages

      UNZ: http://www.unz.org/Author/SeldesGilbert?Col=-1

      "First-rate mystery story of a series of strange
      disappearances and other unexplainable events.
      The author shows that in capable hands the
      hackneyed puzzle as to the identity of the
      criminal is not the first or most interesting theme
      in such a novel. The story is told by a pompous
      country gentleman, Sir Henry Fordyce, with
      occasional diversions as to the activities of
      Scotland Yard. The chapters about the detectives,
      their work, and the legal aspects of the case are
      especially well done. The explanation of the
      mystery hinges on an idea which was used many
      years ago in a story by Frank R. Stockton. He
      used it lightly, for humorous effect; Mr. Winsor
      uses it seriously and, in some places, a little
      heavily. Yet throughout the novel there is the
      growing sense of danger, of helplessness in the
      presence of a malicious criminal mind, which is
      the often-sought but seldom achieved atmosphere
      in this kind of tale. We cordially recommend
      'Vanishing Men'."
      - 'The Outlook,' September 21, 1927, "Current
      Books"
      - http://www.unz.org/Pub/Outlook-1927sep21-00092?View=PDFPages
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