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The Riddle of the Purple Emperor

Mary E. Hanshew and Thomas W. Hanshew

Book Overview: 

Orphan Lady Margaret Cheyne returns home on her eighteenth birthday to live with her embittered maiden aunt and to take up her inheritance of the family jewels. The Cheyne jewels include a pendant featuring the Purple Emperor, a priceless jewel looted from a temple during the Indian Mutiny.

During her time at school in Paris, Lady Margaret has met and fallen in love with Sir Edgar Brenton, the son of an old flame of her aunt and a neighbour in the village of Hampton, where Cleek's adored Ailsa Lorne has also taken up residence.

Lady Margaret's return leads to a mysterious and sinister chain of events, which Cleek and Superintendent Maverick Narkom of Scotland Yard attempt to unravel, with, of course, the help of the irrepressible and ever-hungry Dollops, Cleek's cockney sidekick.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Review the facts however calmly, he could still find no fitting solution. Sure he was that a dead woman had stared at him from the floor of that house, but he was also just as sure that the same woman had driven him out from it. And what of Lady Margaret herself? He had not a shadow of right to insist on[Pg 44] seeing her. She was in the hands of her natural guardian, and yet, and yet——! The shadow of doubt hung over him.

He stopped short suddenly and sniffed in the air, much to the open-mouthed astonishment of Constable Roberts, whose grumbling remonstrances died away.

"Good Lord man, sir, I mean," he exclaimed, agitatedly, "but what's in the wind now?"

"Scent and sense, my good fellow," said Cleek. "There is a distinct odour of jasmine in the air and an artificial scent, Huile de jasmin at that. It is a woman's scent, too, and some woman has been here to-night. She's been on these very stone steps."

"Well, what if she has? That don't excuse. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Look, it could just be me...

...but the ending of this makes no sense at all, now does it? Is it that I'm an Australian? I don't think it is. I think the ending is clver in the sense you'll never guess it, but a problem in the sense that no normal criminal would consider it because in the real wo...more

So wild and twisty. I would recommend it if you like Sherlock Holmes. But a tiny bit more modern.

Cleek's lady love, Ailsa, asks him to bring home Lady Margaret, a young woman she met on the train. Thus begins all the trouble. A woman dead then alive again. Lady Margaret kept away from her fiancee, all her jewels being brought to the home. He and Narkom get caught up in solving the mystery of...more

If you love the melodramatic unbelievability of early mystery stories as I do, you will enjoy this read. Plausible? Nope. Fun to read? Yes. Very much in the vein of the original Nick Carter series, with a hero that is able to change his looks in seconds so as to completely deceive others about hi...more

The pursuit of a precious stone and ghastly murder, thus enters Cleek...more