Read The Notting Hill Mystery by Charles Warren Adams Online


The Notting Hill Mystery has been widely described as the first detective novel. The story is told by the insurance investigator Ralph Henderson, who is building a case against the sinister Baron R___, suspected of murdering his wife in order to claim her life insurance. Henderson descends into a maze of intrigue, including a diabolical mesmerist, kidnapping by gypsies, slThe Notting Hill Mystery has been widely described as the first detective novel. The story is told by the insurance investigator Ralph Henderson, who is building a case against the sinister Baron R___, suspected of murdering his wife in order to claim her life insurance. Henderson descends into a maze of intrigue, including a diabolical mesmerist, kidnapping by gypsies, slow-poisoners, a rich uncle's will and three murders.Presented in the form of diary entries, family letters, chemical analysis reports, interviews with witnesses and a crime scene map, the novel displays innovative techniques that would not become common features of detective fiction until the 1920s. This novel launched the British Library Crime Classics series in 2012, and is now reissued with a striking new cover design....

Title : The Notting Hill Mystery
Author :
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ISBN : 9780712356268
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 235 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Notting Hill Mystery Reviews

  • Nancy Oakes
    2019-02-28 04:03

    Good grief -- this book might possibly win the award for most convoluted murder mystery I've ever read, but it's definitely and seriously fun. It's definitely got a thin plot, but it rates high on my enjoyment-o-meter because of its diabolical craziness and downright crazy story elements. First serialized in 1862/1863 in the magazine Once A Week, this book was quite popular with readers. According to Julian Symons in his Bloody Murder, the book was very likely an attempt to "repeat the success of The Woman in White," complete with its own Count Fosco-like villain, but was in "several ways an original work." (51) That's for sure, in more ways than one. The Notting Hill Mystery is reputedly the first modern English detective novel, and Adams gave it a number of new, innovative twists and ingredients that set it apart from other books/serializations featuring detectives that were quite popular at the time. For one thing, the detective here, Ralph Henderson, has nothing at all to do with the police; instead he is an agent collecting evidence for an insurance company. For another, the book is filled with elements such as a cryptic fragment of a letter in French, a marriage certificate, statements and depositions from several witnesses, and even a floor plan of a victim's home. Old hat you may say -- we've certainly seen the likes of those sorts of things in tons of mystery books we've read, but while we take them for granted, back then these were all new additions to the standard detective stories of the time. There are overlapping layers of narrative that bring with them not only new levels of mystery, but which also bring the reader ever closer to the truth of what has actually happened. The Notting Hill Mystery presents, as I said, a most convoluted murder mystery. Ralph Henderson is trying to determine the truth behind the death of woman after her husband had taken out several policies on her life totaling 25,000 pounds. The novel is his report to the Secretary of the ____ Life Assurance Association, and he lays out two "alternatives" which "present themselves" after careful consideration of the evidence. He himself, as he says, is unable to decide between the two, so offers his facts "in the form in which they would be laid before counsel." The fun of this book is in uncovering the diabolical craziness at play. As Symons says, the methodology underlying the murder may seem "preposterous to us," but it "seemed much less ridiculous to the Victorians," a hugely important point to consider while reading this novel. I actually chuckled a number of times while reading this book, but at the same time, I was completely engrossed and couldn't wait to see Henderson's conclusions at the end. It's that kind of book, really -- as silly as it may seem, I just couldn't help myself turning pages while wondering if the murderer would actually be caught and if so, if he could even be prosecuted. It's also an important milestone in the history of detection novels, written well before Sherlock first made an appearance in print. I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the history of crime writing/crime fiction, and also to anyone who loves discovering something quite off the beaten path. Even though it might make you groan inwardly here and there or do the inner eyeroll at places because it's a) fairly obvious and b) just plain silly at times, I just loved it.***If you're at all interested in more than what I've said here, there's more at my reading journal:

  • Ivonne Rovira
    2019-03-18 07:45

    Before Émile Gaboriau’s L'affaire Lerouge (1866), Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone (1868), or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet (1886), there was The Notting Hill Mystery. Written under the pen name Charles Felix (now believed to be Charles Warren Adams) and first serialized in 1862 in a magazine, it became the first detective novel when it was published in one volume in 1865.Before I got an ARC of this book from NetGalley, I had heard of neither the author nor the novel. The Notting Hill Mystery follows the attempts by insurance investigator Ralph Henderson to prove that the death of Baron R**’s wife was no accident but murder. Readers will realize immediately that Baron R** is guilty; after all, what innocent man takes out five £5,000 life insurance policies on his wife’s life in the span of four months? The fun of the novel could have been tracing how Henderson manages to uncover evidence in what appears to be a perfect crime and expose the baron. Instead, for a full fourth of the novel, it bogs down in a ponderous exchanges of letters recounting the entire life of Gertrude Boleton Anderton, the wispy semi-invalid who will become Baron R**’s victim, literally from before her birth. After this tedious backstory, the novel continues as a series of depositions, documents, letters, and other paperwork that the pedantic Henderson ferrets out. While some authors can make epistolary novels into great successes (e.g., Bellfield Hall: Or, The Observations of Miss Dido Kent by Anna Dean; Lady Susan by Jane Austen; Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding; The Color Purple by Alice Walker; Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple; Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster), Adams simply doesn’t pull it off. Audiences have evolved in the 150 years since The Notting Hill Mystery was first published; however, 21st century audiences continue to appreciate 19th century novels, such as The Moonstone, The Woman in White, the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, and many more because of memorable characters and gripping narratives. The Notting Hill Mystery has neither. What it does have are cardboard villains (hypnotist Baron R** being clearly a charlatan and a malevolent crook), sickly-pale simpleton victims, implausible coincidences worthy of a Victorian Penny Dreadful, silly supernatural doings, and even the canard about child-abducting gypsies. If there’s a Victorian melodrama cliché missing, I can’t imagine what it is. I found myself skimming to get to the end. Poisoned Pen Press, in re-releasing this groundbreaking novel, has done a favor to students of the history of the mystery; run-of-the-mill mystery buffs won’t find anything of value here. With my love of 19th century novels, I am more patient than most readers; even so, had I not been under obligation to provide a review, I would have bailed before I was one-fifth of the way through.To reiterate in the interest of full disclosure, I received this book from NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press in exchange for an honest review.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-03-01 03:40

    to hunt down/look into. Wanda found a site: Read here. Thanks for your incredible sleuthing skills, Wanda.Opening is The Private Enquiry Office, Clements Inn, London, January 1958:GENTLEMEN, In laying before you the extraordinary revelations arising from my examination into the case of the late Madame R**, I have to apologise for the delay in carrying out your instructions of November last.See who the illustrator is, none other than G du M!Article in the Guardian

  • M.R. Graham
    2019-03-15 07:55

    The Premise:The Notting Hill Mystery is, according to the introduction, either the first true detective story or among the first true detective stories, though it departs a little from the type by featuring not a police or private detective, but an insurance investigator, and by presenting all the gathered evidence without presenting the investigation by which the evidence was acquired.Baron R- has recently insured his wife for a startling sum. Obviously, doubts begin to arise when she does, in fact, die shortly after, apparently by taking poison while sleepwalking. Our investigator is sent to make sense of the event, and through diligent sleuthing, uncovers a bizarre swirl of soap-opera family drama, mesmerism, and, of course, murder. Quite a number of murders, actually.The Good:I’m a sucker for the epistolary novel, ever since I read Dracula, and this one is especially well done. Each speaker (or writer, rather) has a distinct and identifiable voice, so that they don’t all run together. Each one sounds like an individual. That added verisimilitude makes you wonder – just once or twice – whether you might not actually be reading a case file rather than a work of fiction.And, while there is a certain amount of the expected swooning and crying out and running from rooms that Victorian works so frequently exhibit, it doesn’t skew ridiculous even once. I’d say that a woman being eaten alive by a powerful acid has every right to cry out, actually.The Bad:The long, convoluted language is a little hard to get through, though not excessively so.The plot also hinges on some really laughable period “science”. (view spoiler)[Namely, that the sympathy between twins is so great that you can kill one by poisoning the other. And of course, that you can hypnotize a woman into poisoning herself. (hide spoiler)]In Conclusion:It was certainly a very interesting read, if for no other reason than because I enjoyed identifying some of the early earmarks of the nascent genre. The Notting Hill Mystery certainly does differ markedly from the genre it helped create.I was a little irked when it became apparent that it’s really a paranormal mystery, not because I dislike paranormal mystery but because I was expecting something more grounded in reality. However, once I had reconciled myself to that fact, it was a very enjoyable read. I can’t really fault the book for not being what I expected, especially when it does such a good job of being what it is.Solid four stars.I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Laura
    2019-03-10 00:45

    From FreeLiterature: The Notting Hill Mystery (1862-1863) - arguably the first English detective novel - published in 8 episodes in Once a Week (Illustrated by George Du Maurier) - Charles Felix a pseudo. of Charles Warren Adams.Free download available at Project Gutenberg.A classical mystery fiction, with some hints of gothic style of the 19th century which certainly influenced many writers.[It is unnecessary for us to state by what means the following papers came into our hands, and it would be no compliment to the penetration of our readers if we indicated beforehand the nature of the mystery they are supposed to unravel. It will, however, require a very close attention to names and dates to comprehend the view of the compiler, as to the case he is investigating; and, so far, it is requisite to rely on the reader's patience and discernment. The whole particulars of the case will extend to some seven or eight numbers of "Once a Week" and some things which are dark at first will appear clearer in the sequel. If the compiler has really discovered a new species or description of crime, it is natural that the evidence of it, which is circumstantial, should be somewhat difficult of acceptance. The illustrations are simply added to make the reader's task more agreeable, but, of course, it is not pretended that they were made simultaneously with the events they represent.]

  • Frances Brody
    2019-03-01 00:42

    This story was first published in 1862 and 1863 as a magazine serial, giving the author's name as Charles Felix. The book caught my eye in the library because of the line under the title claiming it to be 'The First Detective Novel'. The story is told by an insurance investigator who is reporting to several companies. With each company, Baron R insured his wife's life for a considerable sum. The investigator builds a case against the baron, whom he suspects of murdering his wife.The story-telling technique is ahead of its time, consisting of reports, diary entries, letters and interviews, capturing the tones of voice. Henderson, the investigator, is meticulous in checking dates and times, and exploring the background to events. The narrator comments on the 'chain of evidence linking mysterious occurrences' as 'not only circumstantial but so delicate and complicated that the failure of a single link would render the remainder worthless'.This sober approach to story-telling combines with sensational stuff: jealous rage, a duel, the kidnapping by gypsies of a girl (a twin), slow poison, mesmerism,a rich man's will, and cold-blooded murder.A chilling feature was the way in which the baron is viewed by so many characters: 'a kind-hearted gentleman'; 'I never saw such a good husband'. I read Mike Ashley's introduction after I read the novel. (I always read introductions last.) He gives background information supporting the claim of 'first detective novel', and details about the author - a publisher trying to keep afloat!The book has illustrations by George du Maurier.

  • LindaH
    2019-03-24 07:39

    Anyone interested in the roots of the Detective Mystery genre, as I am, will want to read The Notting Hill Mystery (1862). There are reasons to call it, as many have, the first detective story. There is also controversy. Traditionally, Edgar Allan Poe is the granddaddy of the detective story: Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841), and Wilkie Collins is the inventor of the mystery novel: Woman in White (1859) and Moonstone (1968). Where does Charles Warren Adams fit in?That is basically the question that propelled me through the depositions and correspondence that make up the bulk of this book. I was looking for "the figure of the detective" as described in Charles Brownson's study, The Figure of the Detective: A Literary History and Analysis (2014), which I am currently reading. To make this fun, and not get caught up in semantics, I assumed that Ralph Henderson, the insurance investigator in Notting Hill, was the "detective figure", just as Kinsey Milhone is a detective who works at times for an insurance company, although she is primarily a private investigator. And as a headline in the NYTimes Book Review put it (i am remembering so the wording isn't exact): "Dupin...Sherlock. Who is Ralph?"Auguste C. Dupin is the self-appointed solver of the Rue Morgue case. He refers to a sensational murder mystery written up in the papers, all the time telling his friend ( the narrator) how what is needed and missing in the police work is the power of brilliant deductive reasoning...HIS. Sherlock Holmes essentially does the same thing, i.e. extol the virtues of deduction to Watson. Ralph Henderson definitely DEDUCES from his thorough accumulation of the evidence a satisfying version of events; we are privy to his train of reasoning, not just in the final, lengthy explanation, but along the way as well. But unlike Dupin and Sherlock, Ralph doesn't brag. He is all business.And THAT may be the issue here. Perhaps Henderson's lack of personality and charm prevent him from being the first Detective (in a) story. The story has almost everything else familiar to us detective story fans: motive, tangible clues, significant dates, conflicting testimony, room diagrams, incomplete writing, detailed logistics, unreliable witnesses....Plus a solution that makes sense. Poe's story didn't have that.

  • Judy Lesley
    2019-03-08 01:40

    I thought this was a wonderful book but that is probably because I am a fan of the older mysteries and enjoy seeing how authors approached the genre in its young days. In this case, not just an infant but practically it's birth day. You might appreciate this novel more if you forget about it being billed as a detective novel because it definitely is not that. Instead you have an investigation presented from the point of view of an investigator for an insurance company into the death of someone the company he works for insured. As you read more and more of the letters, journal entries, statements and reports compiled by Mr. Henderson you watch his case build up.The first of the letters concerning the characters were dated in the 1830s and the story concludes in about 1856. Watching Mr. Henderson line up his evidence regarding Baron R** and the mysterious happenings going on with those whose lives he touched was fascinating for me. Granted, this style of novel can be rather bland and dry but if you appreciate watching an expert gather his evidence you will be more likely to enjoy this novel. Knowing this story was published in 1865 gives readers a wonderful example of how the genre has evolved over time and how remarkable it was for Charles Warren Adams to have written this "first" so well. This is a novel for the reader who enjoys the language of the Victorian era and the meticulous gathering of evidence and presentation of that evidence in summary form. Quite an interesting curiosity and I'm very glad I had the chance to read it.I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley.

  • Christie
    2019-02-22 06:08

    A fun read, but definitely NOT the first detective novel. "The Notting Hill Mystery" is sort of like Law & Order for the Victorian period: heavy emphasis on compiled evidence, interviews, deposition, etc. We do not know the detective at all as a person, and we do not follow in his detective work. If compiled evidence + conclusions about a crime = a detective novel, then Collins' Woman in White fits the bill and came earlier (in 1859). To me, though, a detective novel needs a detective -- either a goofy one or a hardcore serious Sherlock Holmes. "Notting Hill" doesn't have that -- but Dickens' "Bleak House" and Braddon's "Trail of the Serpent" and "Lady Audley's Secret" all do, and they came earlier. To call this novel the "first detective novel" seems a 20th century move, obsessed with evidence and court cases -- and one that doesn't take into account Victorian ideas about detection and the role of the detective.

  • Lesley~aka Ella's Gran
    2019-02-27 01:06

    A good example of procedural investigation presented to the reader in epistolary style. The language was typically wordy and appropriate to the Victorian era it is set in. While much of the story was quite repetitive - gather statements, compare, report evidence - this is how a case is built, and even though the culprit was reasonably clear from the beginning, I did enjoy reading The Notting Hill Mystery.

  • Wanda
    2019-03-01 01:54

    4 JUL 2014 -- recommended by Laura. Many thanks to Laura for her tireless devotion to Project Gutenberg. Through her dedication, we are afforded the opportunity of so many great free books! Find this one here --

  • Tasha
    2019-03-11 05:53

    Interesting. King of a weird book.

  • Leslie
    2019-03-14 04:46

    2½ stars. Interesting concept but I found the style unappealing especially in the beginning. The exposition at the end also seemed to go on a tad too long as well.

  • Deanne
    2019-03-18 04:57

    Rather far fetched in places, you maybe required to suspend your disbelief, fun overall.

  • Nancy
    2019-03-03 01:03

    The Notting Hill Mystery by Charles Warren Adams is purportedly the first full-length modern English-language Detective Novel, serialized in 1862-3 and published in 1865. It predates Wilkie Collin's The Moonstone, which was serialized in 1868. Poison Pen Press's new edition of The Notting Hill Mystery includes an introduction tracing the history of the Detective genre, establishing Adam's novel's place in the genre.Adams wrote under the name of Charles Felix, and had published an earlier crime novel Velvet Lawns in 1864. Adams was the proprietor of the book's publisher, Saunders, Otley, and wrote the novels to help his foundering business which closed in 1869.Modern readers may find Notting Hill archaic and tedious. This is the age of lightning quick plot lines and "page turner" best sellers. I just finished The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins for my book club--it's twice the length of Notting Hill and yet both took me two days to read. And yet I enjoyed Notting Hill as much as Girl.Girl features first person narratives, including a diary, to tell the story through three points of view. It is a suspense novel, a thriller, and a mystery. Rachel may be considered a 'detective' so it is also a detective novel. As an 'unreliable witness' due to alcoholic blackouts, the police have discounted what Rachel has seen. So she conducts her own 'investigation,' and finds herself in deep water.Notting Hill tells the story through depositions, diary entries, chemical reports, and letters collected by a Life Assurance Association employee who is investigating the death of a woman with 5000l in insurance taken out by her husband. The story in pieces according to each person's knowledge of the persons and events in question."I submit for your consideration the facts of the case as they appear in the depositions of the several parties from whom my information has been obtained." The Notting Hill Mystery The contemporary novel Girl wraps up the mystery with a suspenseful climatic scene. Notting Hill leaves us hanging, asking the reader to decide."My tasks is done. In possession of the evidence thus placed before you, your judgment of its result will be as good as mine. Link by link you have now been put in possession of the entire chain." The Notting Hill MysteryA definition of mystery from Writer's Digest reads, Mystery: a form of narrative in which one or more elements remain unknown or unexplained until the end of the story. But...wait...Adams never solves the mystery for us! We are told to decide for ourselves! Another definition states that in a mystery the plot is geared towards solving a problem, usually murder, but problem must be resolved.Notting Hill incorporates themes that in its time thrilled readers. Illustrations by George du Maruier highlight the Gothic elements of the story. Twin girl orphans are separated in childhood when Gypsies steal one and sell her off. The other twin, Gertrude, grows up, marries, and with her husband becomes involved with mesmerism. Mesmerism involved controversial techniques considered unsuitable between a man and a woman. Their mesemerist Baron R** brings in Charlotte who undergoes the treatment and transfers it to Gertrude. The women have a special bond. Gertrude begins to experience biweekly illnesses that eventually claim her life. Her husband in his grief does himself in. Meantime, Baron R** has married Charlotte who also suffers a similar illness and death.Girl on the Train also has its melodrama. Rachel turned to alcohol after she failed to conceive; her husband Tom preferred to go to Vegas with buddies rather than to spend more money on IVT. Tom dumps Rachel for his lover Anna, who has given birth. Rachel daily rides the train past her old home now occupied by Anna. A few doors down she has seen a young couple (Megan and Scott) and has imagined a perfect marriage for them--the one she still longs for with Tom. What Rachel imagines is far from the truth: the girl Meagan disappears and her husband is the prime suspect in her murder. Rachel had seen another man with Meagan, and also has flashbacks of a confrontation that may be related. Readers are given a few red herrings along the way, and although some may have suspicions the mystery is not revealed until the crisis.The horrible implication in Notting Hill will be understood by today's readers rather early. I expect that the first readers, having never encountered the genre, would have had a later "ah-ha" moment.Both novels revolve around women who are manipulated by men. Notting Hill's Mesmerist Baron R** is consistently described as a wonderful husband by the women who have observed his behavior towards his wife. The wife is severely judged for her coldness and bad temper. Wouldn't every woman want such a tender helpmate? Mesmerism was believed to give complete power over the patient. And yet these witnesses never concluded that the Baron was manipulating his resistant wife. The women in Girl on a Train are all involved with a man who is charming and handsome. They all love him to the point of being blind to his faults and lies. They are all victims of Tom's manipulative and self-centered personality.Victimization by men in the 19th c was a common theme. Women had little power, and the meek and loving soft-hearted woman was idealized. The women in Girl are harder to identify with. Is Tom really worth it? Why does Rachel hold a torch for the man who couldn't support her desperate desire for a child, who couldn't love and support her when she was in deepest need? His second wife Anna found herself mirroring Rachel: drinking a lonely glass of wine while waiting for Tom to come home. And why did Meagan put up with Scott when he monitored her Internet activity and email? I frankly was not given enough information about Tom to understand why these women continued to care about him. Or why Megan put up with Scott. My book club was very divided about Girl. It was a huge turn out with 27 members in attendance. One hated it, several gave it two stars, a number three stars. Most readers gave it five stars. The biggest complaints about Girl concerned unlikeable female characters who readers could not relate to. They thought Rachel "weak", that Anna was a manipulative bitch, and that Megan had no redeeming qualities. One complained of clichéd and predictable plot lines. Some didn't like the melodramatic ending. And quite a few found the non-linear plot line confusing; one even gave up reading it. Those who loved the book found it hard to put down. These readers found the characters very human and real. One woman understood Rachel and related to her very well. Many readers compared it to Gone Girl but were divided about which was the better novel.My reaction was in the middle. The book was an 'easy read', it moved along quite well, and I had no problems following the time line and characters. I liked the device of alcoholic black outs creating an unreliable character. I liked how the first person narratives slowly gave the reader glimpses of the story that built on each other. I was not a fan of the ending. I wish I had learned more about Tom and his relationships with the three women; I was not convinced he could keep their "love" after his selfish abandonment. But this is not a book that will stick with me over time. I have learned about a new genre category."Domestic Noir takes place primarily in homes and workplaces, concerns itself largely (but not exclusively) with the female experience, is based around relationships and takes as its base a broadly feminist view that the domestic sphere is a challenging and sometimes dangerous prospect for its inhabitants." article in The Guardian on The Girl on the Train refers to "domestic noir" novels.Literature can be entertaining, but it can also be informative, and these books work in some small part towards dissecting the shame and powerlessness, the psychological and often violent manipulation that abused women experience to keep them trapped in this most toxic of relationships, away from prying eyes, and in the environment we expect to be the most loving and nurturing. The Independent "Domestic Noir is Bigger than EverSeveral ladies liked the idea of Domestic Noir when I shared it; they said that was exactly what they wanted to read. I believe that writers will continue to crank such books out. There is a huge market. I expect the market for The Notting Hill Mystery is far smaller. It was fascinating to read considering its historical place in the genre and as Victorian era literature. Each witness had a distinct voice and character coming through. Pretty amazing considering one book club reader of Girl complained that Rachel and Megan had voices so similar she couldn't remember which character she was reading about! The conclusion was unexpected. But we know who was behind the murders, even if the Life Assurance agent doesn't have enough concrete evidence to decide.Notting Hill is not an 'easy beach read' and won't keep you up past your bed time. But if you are interested in the history of genre fiction, curious about mesmerism and the Victorian Age, it is an interesting read. And I really believe it was an early example of Domestic Noir.I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

  • Sue
    2019-02-22 08:58

    This is apparently the first detective story. Well it was a hard act to follow!It is set out as a report on an insurance case, with letters, diary entries, witness statements and so on forming the bulk of the evidence. A woman has died, having been insured for £25k by her husband. Was it natural causes? Or murder? The evidence is drawn together by the narrator, who also suggests the conclusion at the end. Now, you might think that, with a set up like that, the conclusion would be quite predictable. However, it's not as obvious as you might think.I enjoyed the writing. The author managed to create a distinct voice for each character, which was no mean feat when there was almost no background prose to describe the people or the surroundings in which the drama took place. They ranged from barely-literate servant girls to professional medical experts and the titled upper classes. Their voices really came off the page. Having worked in the insurance world, I recognised the rather stuffy reporting style of the claim assessor/narrator! Although it was 230 pages, it was quick to read as the titles and headings of the various documents took up a fair amount of that space.If I had any criticism it would be that I got a bit lost towards the end. However, I think in truth that is because I was so keen to find out whodunit that I was rushing. There were references in the 'file' linking to earlier documents which I didn't go back to. I'm sure I will read this again, and will pay more attention next time!This was the first in the British Library's Classic Crime series. Purely by coincidence, it was also the first one I read. The idea behind the series is to republish books which were great stories, but which have gone out of print. Well, if this first one is anything to go by, I will be devouring the whole series. That's over 50 books I think. :-)

  • Brad McKenna
    2019-03-03 05:54

    Yet another book that claims to be the first “Detective Novel” While it predates L'affaire Lerouge and The Moonstone by a couple of years, it wasn’t a traditional novel. It was more in line with Dracula, where it presents letters and reports and interviews as clues to a mystery. Plus, the “Detective” is an insurance agent investigating insurance fraud. Ok, those caveats aside, it was actually impressive since it had no predecessor from which to draw. The mystery is related to mesmerism (aka hypnotism) and veers into the realm of supernatural. I was afraid that he non-traditional presentation would make it choppy. But I wasn’t all that bothered by it. I was also concerned that the mesmerism aspect wouldn’t work and the obvious solution would detract. Neither of those things happened. So while the only reason this book came across my radar was because of its historical significance, it was a decent story and an easier read than something like Poe’s The Mystery of Marie Roget.So if you’ve read a lot of classical detective fiction, you’ve gotta read this one. If you haven’t go read The Moonstone first.

  • Meredith
    2019-03-20 00:48

    Not sure what to make of this really. The writing and layout are good. The idea of twins being physically connected, nervously, isn't completely impossible to buy into for the story, but the central idea, as it turns out to be, that the villain hypnotised his wife into drinking poison is not only distasteful but illogical. It's the thing that catches him out, that she is seen leaving her room and descending to the laboratory to drink it, while he looks on unconcernedly. Surely he could have just poisoned her discreetly in her own room and thus avoided the risk of being detected. Odd.

  • Sara Eames
    2019-03-12 05:00

    This is the first detective story written and, although it contains many elements that are recognisable in modern-day mysteries, it is definitely of its time. The prose is quite dry in parts and the story does get bogged down in somewhat unnecessary detail - but it is still a good read. The characters are fairly well-written but the main narrator is very dull at times. However, you can see the makings of the modern-day detective novel within these pages. So, not a bad read.

  • Sarah
    2019-02-26 05:08

    A very surprising read. The story is pretty much what one would expect of a Victorian detective or sensation novel, slightly convoluted and full of unlikely turns, but I found the way it was presented really intriguing. You'll be presented with cross-referenced witness statements, footnotes, printed copies of "original documents" and a map of the crime scene, all narrative techniques that become popular within this genre only much much later.

  • Marie (UK)
    2019-03-12 00:50

    Oh god this went on forever or so it seemed. I am just glad detective stories have improved if this was the tenor of the original. Information overload repeated again and again the solution so signposted I really had to struggle to complete this.

  • Tsubame
    2019-02-28 03:02

    Lo compré por la descripción. Promete mucho y realmente lo cumple y con creces. Sin lugar a dudas en cuanto pueda compraré mas títulos de esta colección.

  • Evey Morgan
    2019-03-14 08:59

    Reseña completa:

  • Lynda
    2019-03-08 08:08


  • Elizabeth
    2019-02-22 04:45

    This story was so pedantic and dry that try as I might I could not appreciate it.

  • Sallee
    2019-03-14 04:56

    A Victorian mystery written in 1865 that takes close attention in reading. Children stolen by the gypsies, poison and mesmerism make for a tale with twists and turns.

  • Sulis Peri Hutan
    2019-03-20 04:55

    read more: girang lihat teh cangkir lainnya, wah sapa tau tehnya lebih enak, tapi ternyata... baru mulai minum aja udah tersedak, coba diminum lagi eh malah tenggorokan gatel, apa belum dicuci ya cangkirnya? tapi enggak loh, cangkirnya bersih, mulus. Apa yang salah tehnya? kodisinya bagus kok, sebelumnya aja minum teh yang sama. Jadi kesimpulannya emang bukan teh cangkir saya, belum terbiasa sama rasa yang saya inginkan sama ketika saya memakai cangkir teh kesayangan saya.Seperti itulah saya menuangkannya, saya kurang nyaman aja dengan buku ini, bukan salah covernya yang menurut saya lumayan, bukan salah terjemahannya yang menurut saya tidak ada masalah dan lumayan 'bersih', mungkin karna bukan genre favorit saya jadi saya kurang bisa menikmatinya. Bisa dibilang ini buku dektektif yang pertama saya baca, sama halnya yang tertera di sampul buku, buku ini adalah novel detektif pertama di dunia (diterbitkan pertama kali di Inggris pada tahun 1865), Sherlock Holmes yang kondang itu aja belum lahir. Biasanya kalu genre yang banyak mikir kayak gini saya lebih menyukai nonton filmnya, lebih mudah mencerna dan menebak siapa dalang semua kejadiannya. Sebenernya nggak asing juga, biasanya saya membaca cerita berbau pembunuhan di genre Romance Suspense, setidaknya ada penyemangat buat saya untuk terus menamatkannya :p. Tapi terima kasih sekali kepada @gila_buku yang berkenan mengirimi saya buku ini, untuk pertama kalinya mencoba membaca kisah detektif, benar-benar tantangan buat saya.Karena saya bingung mau menceritakan bagaimana isi buku ini, saya akan mengutip salah satu paragrap di awal buku karena menurut saya sudah menjelaskan sebagian besar isi buku tanpa menebarkan spoiler, yaitu Charles Felix: 150 Tahun Misteri.Novel ini mengambil gaya bercerita korespondensi antara seorang detektif swasta bernama Ralph Henderson yang disewa oleh pihak asuransi untuk menyelidiki misteri dibalik polis asuransi berharga ribuan poundsterling. Hal yang menarik, di dalam novel juga dimasukkan bukti-bukti pelengkap kasus, seperti denah TKP, buku harian korban, kumpulan surat pengakuan saksi, sertifikat pernikahan, catatan medis, laporan analisis kimia, hingga robekan dokumen penting. Hal-hal yang saat ii biasa kita tonton dari serial TV kabel semacam NCIS atau CSI. Metode penulisan fiksi detektif semacam ini baru populer digunakan tahun 1920. Selain memasukkan berbagai analisis medis dan kimia, Charles Felix juga memasukkan polemik tentang ilmu hipnotis yang saat itu masih diangap hal aneh, bahkan tabu.Menjelaskan semuanya bukan?Ketika membaca bab pembuka yang di tulis oleh Penjaga Rumah 57 di atas saya sedikit paham dan cukup bersemangat, sayangnya ketika memasuki tiap bab yang berisi surat para saksi saya melemas, saya kurang suka gaya bercerita seperti ini (padahal kalau nulis suka banget yang kayak gini) entah kenapa beberapa kali membaca cerita yang berwujud surat saya kehilangan nyawanya, padahal seharusnya lebih memperjelas makna, lebih personal, tidak adanya dialog dan banyaknya saksi tidak bisa membuat saya menebak siapa pelaku penipuan malah menambah kebingungan ceritanya, dugaan pembunuhan, belum lagi soal hipnotis yang membuat saya mengernyit ini maksudnya apaan sih? Walaupun terseret-seret saya pun memaksakan untuk mengentaskan buku ini, sekali membuka mari kita akhiri juga :D.Mungkin buat pemanasan aja, siapa tahu nanti kalau membaca buku pure detektif tidak kaget lagi, yang penting jangan sampai kapok, hehe. Walaupun saya kurang menikmatinya buat para pecinta kisah detektif saya recommendedkan buku ini, jangan ngaku freak serial detektif kalau belum baca kisah detektif pertama di dunia.2 sayap untuk Madame R**

  • cindy
    2019-03-18 00:52

    Buku yang diterbitkan tahun 1863 ini konon adalah novel detektif yang pertama di dunia. Pertama kali beredar sebagai kisah bersambung 8 seri di sebuah majalah mingguan Once a Week, dan bagian pertamanya muncul pada 29 November 1862. Nama pengarangnya - Charles Felix - sangat misterius, karena merupakan sebuah nama pena dari orang yang dirahasiakan oleh pihak penerbit. Berdasarkan penelitian akhir, disimpulkan bahwa Charles Felix adalah pseudonim dari Charles Warren Adams yang tidak lain adalah pengacara dan pemilik perusahan penerbitan tersebut.Pengkisahannya sangat unik untuk sebuah novel detektif. Ralph Henderson, si Detektif dalam novel ini, tidak memegang peranan dalam kisah sedikit pun. Malah ia sama sekali tidak pernah dideskripsikan secara umum. Hanya hasil kerjanya yang tampak. Kisah dibuka dalam narasi surat yang isinya menyertakan laporan penyelidikan terhadap klaim asuransi Baron R** terhadap kematian istrinya. Dari sini pembaca diajak menelusuri fakta demi fakta yang telah dikumpulkan Henderson, dalam bentuk pernyataan-pernyataan berbagai pihak yang terlibat, surat pribadi, jurnal dan buku harian, peta lokasi kejadian serta laporan dokter dan polisi. Masing-masing memunculkan serpihan kisah, yang jika dibaca sendiri tidak terlalu penting, namun setelah disatukan, serpihan-serpihan ini memunculkan gambaran seorang pembunuh sadis yang mampu melenyapkan nyawa 3 orang tak bersalah demi uang asuransi.Dalam membaca novel ini, saya merasa menjadi juri dalam panel hukum sebuah kasus di pengadilan, di mana Henderson sebagai jaksa penuntut yang memberikan bukti-bukti. Kesulitannya adalah, semua bukti yang diberikan adalah bukti tidak langsung (circumstantial evidence). Saya tidak meragukan bahwa Baron R** benar-benar bersalah, tapi saya ragu ada pengadilan yang menjatuhkan hukuman bagi dirinya. Sampai akhir penutup kisah ini juga tidak diberikan ending yang pasti. Henderson hanya memberi laporan. Apakah klaim asuransi akan diberikan? Tidak tahu. Apakah Baron R** akan didakwa sebagai pembunuh istrinya? Tidak jelas. Apakah Baron R** akan didakwa untuk pembunuhan Mr. Anderton? Tidak ada bukti. Apakah Baron R** akan didakwa untuk pembunuhan Mrs. Anderton? Tentu tidak. Apakah Mr. Anderton akan dibersihkan namanya dari tuduhan pembunuhan terhadap istrinya? Mungkin, tapi apalah gunanya.Meskipun jalan cerita dan POV-nya sangat menarik, namun saya kurang menyukai latar belakang kisahnya. Gadis kembar yatim piatu, salah satunya diculik kaum Gipsy, dan kemudian bertemu lagi sekian tahun kemudian?? Dooh... lelenovela banget yak..... ^_^*yeee....ini kan ditulis tahun 1862...*Notes untuk edisi terjemahan Indonesianya:Yup, buku kedua dari penerbit Visi Media. Penerjemahannya bagus dan enak dibaca. Typo sudah amat sangat berkurang (saya cuma dapet 1x). Ilustrasi sampul, oke-lah. Nah, yang saya tidak suka adalah gambar amplop di bagian bawah luar dari setiap halaman buku. Selain menghabis-habiskan tinta percetakan *yaelah* noda hitam juga mengenai kedua jempol tangan saya. Jadi nge-plek ke mana-mana negh.... :(

  • Tim Prasil
    2019-02-27 01:05

    The method of murder in this novel depends on taking advantage of a link between twin girls that goes beyond the psychological, beyond even the psychic. As Felix clarifies early in the novel, the twins’ connection is downright physical. One of the case’s witnesses reports that “every little ailment that affects the one [sister] is immediately felt also by the other. . . . I have often heard of the strong physical sympathies between twins, but never met myself with so marked an instance.”In a sense, the mystery explores how far this connection might be taken by an unsavory blackguard. Unfortunately — yet far from unprecedented in early mystery fiction — that unsavory blackguard is easy to spot. Do avoid looking to too closely at the Mesmerist with the penetrating eyes. You know, the fellow who, in the first quarter of the novel, inspires one of the twin sisters to write in her diary: “I don’t think he would have much compunction in killing any one who offended him, or stood in his way.”Now, hypnotism is a scientifically validated phenomenon. But one could argue that its depiction here extends fairly far into the supernatural, though perhaps not quite as far as that bond between twins. That’s an element of this novel that might disappoint some readers hoping for traditional mystery fiction or even fully formed occult detective fiction. Yes, there’s a proto-Svengali villain with sinister motives and esoteric knowledge — but there are no union-certified vampires or werewolves. Alas, there’s not even a tattered ghost dragging paper-clip chains.Nonetheless, Felix’s detective finds he must expand his understanding of reality to encompass what strict science would snub as impossible. A life insurance investigator, Ralph Henderson opens the presentation of his solution to the case by admitting that he’s out on a limb. The “Mesmeric Agency” so central to the crime is something he knows will be met with skepticism (as it is throughout the narrative). Still, he bravely advances it as “the only theory by which I can attempt, in any way, to elucidate this otherwise unfathomable mystery.” Instead of Special Agent Fox Mulder’s famous UFO poster with the slogan “I WANT TO BELIEVE,” insurance agent Henderson’s poster might read: “I’m forced to believe.”

  • Hobby
    2019-03-08 03:01

    Judul Asli : THE NOTHING HILL MYSTERYBy Charles FelixPenerbit VisimediaAlih Bahasa : Lulu Fitri RahmanEditor : Muthia EsfandProofreader : Tim Readaksi VisimediaDesain Cover : Nuruli KhotimahGambar Sampul : Aminudin HadinugrohoCetakan I : Juli 2012 ; 252 hlmRate : 4 of 5Sebagai penggemar kisah misteri, salah satu poin yang membuat kisah tersebut sangat menarik adalah ‘permainan’ ide dan tema yang ‘sederhana’ namun memiliki kepelikan tersendiri dalam detail serta metode analisa untuk mengungkapkan buah pemikiran akan selubng misteri yang terjadi. Dan kisah ini pun dapat dikatakan cukup sederhana (simple) namun sekali lagi memiliki daya tarik tersendiri. Salah satunya adalah cara pengungkapan yang digunakan oleh sang penulis. Alih-alih berupa dialog langsung dan penyelidikan ‘face-to-face’ atau interogasi sebagaimana kisah misteri atau detektif yang kita ketahui saat ini, penulis menuturkan secara tidak langsung dalam bentuk surat hasil korespondensi antara sang penyelidik dengan para saksi atau pihak terkait dalam kasus tersebut. Tentu saja hal ini bagaikan menelusuri potongan puzzle yang tercecer di sana-sini, dan untuk mengetahui kejadian sebenarnya, kita harus menemukan pasangan yang cocok sehingga sebuah gambaran utuh mulai terbentuk dari berbagai potongan puzzle yang tak beraturan tersebut.Tokoh utama sekaligus berlaku sebagai narator kisah ini adalah sosok bernama Ralph Henderson – penyelidik di bagian asuransi, yang melihat berbagai kejanggalan dalam kasus klaim yang melibatkan dua orang yang telah meninggal akibat penyakit aneh. Keduanya tak memiliki hubungan khusus, tinggal di kota yang berbeda, bahkan meninggal pada waktu yang berbeda pula. Namun dari sekedar rasa curiga hingga penelusuran jejak pada masa lalu masing-masing korban serta calon penerima asuransi dalam jumlah yang cukup besar, Ralph Henderson mulai menemukan titik temu. more about this book, check on my review at here :( http://my-mystery-readings.blogspot.c... )