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The Amateur

Richard Harding Davis

Book Overview: 

On the steamer on his way to London, Austin Ford meets a young woman, who is going to London to find her missing husband. Being a specialist in finding people, Mr. Ford agrees to help her in her quest. However, something appears to be not quite right about the lady and her story.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Her face lightened at once; it gave her hope. She will listen to you. Speak very gently and kindly and confidently. Say you are sure you can find him."

"Where is the lady now?" asked Ford.

Doctor Sparrow scrambled eagerly to his feet. "She cannot leave her cabin," he answered.

The widow, as Ford and Doctor Sparrow still thought of her, was lying on the sofa that ran the length of the state-room, parallel with the lower berth. She was fully dressed, except that instead of her bodice she wore a kimono that left her throat and arms bare. She had been sleeping, and when their entrance awoke her, her blue eyes regarded them uncomprehendingly. Ford, hidden from her by the doctor, observed that not only was she very pretty, but that she was absurdly young, and that the drowsy smile she turned upon the old man before she noted the presence of Ford was as innocent as that of a baby. Her cheeks were flushed, her eyes brilliant, her yellow curls had. . . Read More

Community Reviews

More of a short story but still capturing enough to hold interest. Listened to audio.

A short, entertaining, detective story with a with a surprise ending.

A nice short detective story about an amateur detective who is asked by a young woman on a boat to find her lost husband in London, where they are traveling to. He is surprised how soon he finds the lost husband ...
I am not really a short-story-man, but I could appreciate this one quite a lot.

An entertaining short story. Men are easily beguiled by an attractive skirt. And even when fooled, will return to that skirt.

On the way to England, reporter and amateur detective Austin Ford is asked to help a fellow passenger find her missing husband, reportedly seen in London.

Well, that didn’t go as expected. Very strange ending, if it can be considered an ending. 4 out of 5.

For such a short story, surprisingly unpredictable until the very end.