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'The Yellow Letter' (1911)

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  • Michael Soderberg
    THE YELLOW LETTER. By William Johnston. Bobbs-Merrill Co. 1911. 300 pages. Full review: Mr. Johnston has hit upon a novel method of blackmail, and in both the
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 12, 2013
      THE YELLOW LETTER.
      By William Johnston.
      Bobbs-Merrill Co.
      1911. 300 pages.

      Full review:

      "Mr. Johnston has hit upon a novel method of blackmail,
      and in both the development and the detection of the
      crime has shown no little ingenuity. The climax, particu-
      larly, in which most detective stories fail, is well conceived
      and executed. Only one false note is sounded, but that is
      a note which goes far toward destroying the emotional
      efficiency of the whole book.

      "Mr. Johnston has created a villain of the true type, and
      his baiting in the lonely country house is a bit of real
      detective invention. But the interest with which we follow
      the discovery and thwarting of such criminal machinations
      as are here described depends mainly on the intensity of
      our feeling of a maleficent and responsible power in the
      human brain. Mr. Chesterton relied largely on this feeling
      to create the proper atmosphere about the adventures of
      his 'Father Brown.' Mr. Johnston feels it artistically, but
      deliberately mars the effect by an irrelevant preachment
      on the relation of crime to disease, and on the desirability
      of substituting curative measures for punishment.

      "The result is an ingenious story, which fails to absorb
      the reader's mind as it should."
      - Unsigned
      - "Current Fiction"
      - THE NATION
      - November 16, 1911
      - http://www.unz.org/Pub/Nation-1911nov16-00468
      - [Scroll down to page 469, left bottom]

      Online:
      - http://www.unz.org/Pub/JohnstonWilliam-1911?View=ReadIt

      Other Johnston titles:

      ~ THE INNOCENT MURDERERS (1910)
      Online:
      - http://www.unz.org/Pub/JohnstonWilliam-1910

      ~ THE HOUSE OF WHISPERS (1918)
      Two reviews:
      - http://www.unz.org/Pub/Outlook-1918apr24-00680
      and:
      - http://www.unz.org/Pub/Forum-1918jun-00749
      - - [Scroll down to page 752]

      ~ THE APARTMENT NEXT DOOR (1919)
      Review:
      - http://www.unz.org/Pub/Nation-1919feb15-00259
      Online:
      - http://www.unz.org/Pub/JohnstonWilliam-1919?View=ReadIt

      ~ THE MYSTERY IN THE RITSMORE (1920)
      - http://www.unz.org/Pub/Outlook-1920jul21-00541a02

      ~ THE WADDINGTON CIPHER (1923)
      - http://www.unz.org/Pub/Bookman-1923nov-00312
      - - [Scroll down to page 314]

      ~ THE AFFAIR IN DUPLEX 9B (1927)
      Three reviews:
      - http://www.unz.org/Pub/Bookman-1927mar-x00141?View=PDFPages
      - - [Jump To page 117, left top]
      - http://www.unz.org/Pub/Bookman-1927apr-00210
      - - [Scroll down to page 211, right middle]
      - http://www.unz.org/Pub/SaturdayRev-1927apr16-00734a02
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