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The Agony Column

Earl Derr Biggers

Book Overview: 

English romantic adventure starring a young American in London and inspired by the personal ads (agony columns) in the London papers. In this treacherous tale of murder and intrigue young American Geoffrey West tracks a killer from the posh dining room of the Carlton Hotel to the opium dens of London’s Limehouse district in search of the truth and the heart of his true love only to find the culprit all too close to home.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ters as an acquaintance of the captain's and the caretaker had lost no time in telling me that "my friend" was safely home.

So one night, a week ago, I got up my nerve and went to the captain's rooms. I knocked. He called to me to enter and I stood in his study, facing him. He was a tall handsome man, fair-haired, mustached—the very figure that you, my lady, in your boarding-school days, would have wished him to be. His manner, I am bound to admit, was not cordial.

"Captain," I began, "I am very sorry to intrude—" It wasn't the thing to say, of course, but I was fussed. "However, I happen to be a neighbor of yours, and I have here a letter of introduction from your cousin, Archibald Enwright. I met him in Interlaken and we became very good friends."

"Indeed!" said the captain.

He held out his hand for the letter, as though it were evidence at a court-martial. I passed it over, wishing I hadn't come. He read it thro. . . Read More

Community Reviews

A few months ago, inspired by a book blogger’s challenge for reading the century, I begun on a project of my own aiming to read a mystery/crime novel published in each of the years of the twentieth century. I decided that I was to read the novels in chronological order and that I would not read t...more

Bettie's Books

In England "The Agony Column" was the name of the personal advertisements in newspapers. The story begins in a rather light-hearted way with an American visiting London and being quite taken by an American girl he sees breakfasting with her father at a London Hotel. Since arriving in London he ha...more

4.50 stars - rated pg13

Do all "vintage" authors have this lovely, soft, flowing, descriptive writing style?? I love it! I read most of it out loud -- it was just that fun to read. This is a short (70 pages?) old-school tale of intrigue, romance and mystery. Our story takes place just as World War...more

I am without words to describe how much I enjoyed this work of artful mystery. To the very end it held my attention and I wasn't disappointed as I am so many times with modern day authors. Maybe an old school mystery that new school authors should take notice of. Lots of intrigue and romance with...more

I'm smiling even as I write this review of an unconventional mystery story. I don't want to give away the plot so I'll just say it's very charming and everyone who likes a touch of mystery and romance in their lives should enjoy it unspoilt.

It took me quite a while to start this book. It appeared to be an old fashioned, slow, artsy type of book which always is difficult for my hyperactive brain to grasp. But whoa!!!!! When I started, it was a gem of a book that I recommend everyone to read. In this age of Facebook, Twitter, the Pers...more

It's hard to describe how much I was charmed and fascinated by this short novel.

This is the first time I've read anything by Biggers except perhaps a short story or two in the old EQMM anthologies I used to devour. There's a very good reason. Decades ago I watched maybe three or four of the Charl...more

Difficult book to rate. Highly entertaining, but also very frustrating, especially for modern audiences.
The framing device for this story is cute, and it really keeps you guessing as to whether the narrator is actually on the level. It's excellently written and briskly paced, and, at just over a...more

The Agony Column is a perfect brew of mystery and romance of the very old-fashioned variety. Perhaps no one other than M.M. Kaye blended these two elements as well as Earl Derr Biggers. Forever remembered for his creation of Charlie Chan, the great detective from Hawaii, many of Biggers' other no...more

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