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Castles in the Air

Baroness Emmuska Orczy

Book Overview: 

Castles in the Air, a short novel or perhaps more like a collection of short stories with memories of a French rogue in the early 19th century Paris, and about it I quote from the foreword: In very truth my good friend Ratichon is an unblushing liar, thief, a forger–anything you will; his vanity is past belief, his scruples are non-existent. How he escaped a convict settlement it is difficult to imagine, and hard to realize that he died–presumably some years after the event recorded in the last chapter of his autobiography–a respected member of the community, honored by that same society which should have raised a punitive hand against him.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .English lawyers, but I will have communicated with them on your behalf, and all your papers proving your identity will be in your hands. Then we can come to a decision with regard to a happier and more comfortable home for you. In the meanwhile I entreat you to do nothing that may precipitate Mr. Farewell's actions. Do not encourage his advances, but do not repulse them, and above all keep me well informed of everything that goes on in his house."

She spoke a few words of touching gratitude, then she rose, and with a gesture of exquisite grace she extracted a hundred-franc note from her reticule and placed it upon my desk.

"Mademoiselle," I protested with splendid dignity, "I have done nothing as yet."

"Ah! but you will, Monsieur," she entreated in accents that completed my subjugation to her charms. "Besides, you do not know me! How could I expect you to work for me and not to know if, in the end, I shoul. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Emmuska Orczy is the author of the Scarlet Pimpernel books. I love those books and I enjoyed this one also.

Meet Hector Ratichon, agent confidentiel in early 19th century France and an opportunistic rogue if ever there was one!

Unscrupulous and self-important, prone to referring to himself in the puffed-up third person ('for I, Hector Ratichon, argus-eyed, was on the watch', 'I—Hector Ratichon, the confid

I love how Ratichon points out the flaws in others even though he exemplifies the flaw ten times more than the person he blames. The protagonist makes this novel: a truly awesome caricature of self-serving greed.

This is a collection of stories all with the same main character. They are amusing and fun. A quick light read.

I enjoyed this book. The Baroness tends to populate her books with impossibly strong, good, handsome, cunning heroes and heroines that are constantly taking the heroes breath away. This book, by contrast, was a breath of fresh air. The main character is an unscrupulous lawyer who will do anything fo

Not as awesome as Orczy's other books, but still quite amusing and historical. :)

A memoir of the adventures of Ratichon, a self-styled confidant of kings and emperors during the Napoleonic era. This is a short story collection of Ratichon's amusing adventures while helping those high in society solve their problems.

Most of the Orczy books I've read (well the only two I've read .

Enjoyable short stories recalling the adventures of an early 19th century French rogue. Quite the character.

"Castles in the Air" does not compare with the wit and intrigue of "The Scarlet Pimpernel" or "The Elusive Pimpernel;" nevertheless, the Baroness managed to maintain my attention—if not exactly excite my interest—throughout the story.

Castles in the Air consists of several entertaining short stories introducing Hector Ratichon, a volunteer police agent (or as he sometimes introduces himself - a private inquiry and confidential agent). In today's terms - we would probably consider him a somewhat deft con man – but one who is also

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