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The Secret House

Edgar Wallace

Book Overview: 

A stranger and foreigner arrives at the offices of a small publication in London only to be faced by the “editor” whose face is completely swathed in a veil. Nothing is as it seems, and it quickly becomes evident that both are bent on more than lively gossip about the elite. Blackmail and opportunism is the order of the day. When two men are found shot to death outside the door of Mr. Farrington the millionaire who just happens to live a few doors from T. B. Smith, the head of the secret police, the connections to blackmail are not long in coming. Were these men shot by the blackmailer? Who is actually what he seems to be?

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Page_62" id="Page_62">[Pg 62] party at the Jollity," he said; "we can talk matters over. Incidentally, we may challenge Mr. Smith." He smiled, but grew grave again. "I have lost a good friend there"—he looked at the form on the bed; "there is no reason why you should not take his place. Is it true—what you said to-day—that you know something of applied mechanics?"

"I have a diploma issued by the College of Padua," said the other promptly.

[Pg 63]


At precisely ten o'clock, as the curtain came reefing slowly down upon the first act of The Strand Girl, Lady Dinsmore turned with outstretched hand to greet the first of the two men who had just entered the box.

"My dear Count," she exclaimed, "I am disappointed in you! Here I have been paying you really quite tremendous compliments to these young people. I presume you are on Gregory's 'business'?"

"I am desolated!"

Count Poltavo had . . . Read More

Community Reviews

I read this book in the original English. Not sure why Goodreads has only the German title... The English title is The Secret House. Classic Wallace. Not awfully shocking surprises.

A good page-turner

It is a fairly straightforward plot written by one of the masters of the genre.
Easy to read but less east to put down.

In order to make money and curate content for his gossip magazine, an evil mastermind is born. He uses a secret identity to swindle and blackmail people by saying he will reveal their secrets.

Then that mastermind learns to love. He gains guardianship of his niece and learns to love her. With this lo

Major characters:
Montague Fallock, publisher and blackmailer
Count Ernesto Poltavo, his translator
Gregory Farrington, millionaire, uncle to Doris Gray
Lady Constance Dix, his girlfriend
Gorth, his servant
Frank Doughton, journalist
George Doughton, his late father
Doris Gray, Frank’s girlfriend
Lady Patric

Although this is pure Wallace and has a slam and bang finish, I never really got into it, at least not until the last few chapters.

An interesting mystery involving a mechanical house, powered by its own electrical generator and with entire rooms that can move to other places. The house really only plays a large part in the second half of the book; for the first half, it’s mostly about blackmail and a man who wants to utterly co

A murky, complex mystery with a relentless plot, suitably evil characters and creepy atmosphere. Being set in the late 1920s, it somewhat predates that uniquely American genre called "noir" but were it not so uncompromisingly English in its setting, I would have shelved it as noir. Very dated, it ma

An interesting historical mystery novel about blackmailers; this story didn't really hold any mystery, just a lot of confusion at the start whilst the characters and scenes were set in play. The book became clearer towards the end but it really was a bit "meh!" for me.

Ο Ουώλλας ανήκει στους συγγραφείς αστυνομικής λογοτεχνίας που αποτυπώνουν στα βιβλία τους με εύστοχο τρόπο την ατμόσφαιρα και τα ήθη της εποχής τους, και αυτός είναι ένας από τους λόγους, ίσως, που θεωρείται ξεπερασμένος ή παρωχημένος. Μόνο που δεν ισχύει σε αυτή τη περίπτωση - το συγκεκριμένο μυθισ

Very good. Blackmailer hides in a mechanized house. Despicable assistant tries to double-cross him. Good abrupt ending.

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