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The Grand Babylon Hotel

Arnold Bennett

Book Overview: 

Theodore Racksole, a rich American multimillionaire, buys the Grand Babylon Hotel, a luxurious hotel in London, as a whim – and then finds out there are strange things going on – a German prince is supposed to arrive but never turns up, someone is found murdered in the hotel, but then the body disappears. With the help of his independent daughter Nella and another German prince, Racksole sets out to solve the mystery.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .His reasons for such a course were threefold—first, he felt depressed and uneasy; second, he didn't like the name of Sampson Levi; and, third, he had a desire to show these so-called plutocrats that their wealth was nothing to him, that they could not do what they chose with Theodore Racksole, and that for two pins Theodore Racksole would buy them up, and the whole Kaffir Circus to boot. But something warned him that though such a high-handed proceeding might be tolerated in America, that land of freedom, it would never be tolerated in England. He felt instinctively that in England there are things you can't do, and that this particular thing was one of them. So the ball went forward, and neither Mr nor Mrs Sampson Levi had ever the least suspicion what a narrow escape they had had of looking very foolish in the eyes of the thousand or so guests invited by them to the Gold Room of the Grand Babylon that evening.

The Gold Room of the Grand Babylon was buil. . . Read More

Community Reviews

"Follow that carriage !" commands the heroine as she jumps into a horse & buggy and gives chase. Did Arnold Bennett launch (1902) the classic line, "Follow that car !"

A creaky serial, written over 2 weeks in Bennett's early career, which hosts schemers, evil-doers, plotters and mischief-make...more

American tycoon Theodore Racksole buys Europe's most exclusive hotel on a whim, but is warned by the seller that he will live to regret it. Soon, a mysterious death occurs and Theodore and his daughter Nella find themselves in danger in their own hotel.

Theodore Racksole ...... John Sessions

A delightful “lark”: a humorous Edwardian mystery, told in short chapters, each ending on a cliff-hanger or surprising revelation (written for serialisation). It sounds clichéd, but is so well done, that it merely adds to the charm.

Theodore Racksole is an American millionaire “who owned one thous...more

In 1902 Arnold Bennett told the world an extraordinary tale of events at london’s most prestigious hotel: The Grand Babylon Hotel.

A hotel founded in 1869 by Félix Babylon, the son of a successful Swiss hotelier, to offer the finest service and the utmost discretion to royalty and the creme de la...more

This feels like Bennett having a book-holiday as he leaves his more serious self behind for a romp of a novel which reminded me of The Prisoner of Zenda. With murders, kidnapping, blackmail, a feisty heroine, a romance, a Balkan princedom, dodgy waiters and an American millionaire who can't get w...more

I liked it at first but it became too silly for words. I think it's of its time and a bit of a lighthearted frolicking crime story much like our BBC offerings like Midsummer Murders or Shakespeare & Hathaway.

First published in 1902, this first appeared as a serial in the, “Golden Penny.” Having finished this, I do think it probably worked better as a serial, rather than a novel. It is something of a melodramatic farce, with characters rushing about all over the place and, obviously, Bennett needed to...more

Really a very charming book written in the early 1900's.

The Grand Babylon Hotel - luxury and elegance, mystery and romance in London. Light hearted tale with enjoyable characters, a pleasant easy story with an almost fairy tale quality.

I listened to an audio version and I thoroughly enjoyed this...more

Is this really the same Bennett that wrote "The Old Wives Tale"? Wow. Well, nothing deep in this book! It was fine, I really enjoyed the beginning, the little tussle between the head waiter and the millionaire that starts the craziness that follows was quite funny. As a light adventure/mystery, i...more

If you are looking for an amusing and easy to read novel with lots of mystery, political conspiracy, espionage and interesting characters all bound together with a splash of romance and humor then The Grand Babylon Hotel by Arnold Bennett can be a satisfying choice. Written in 1902, this is a pre...more

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