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William John Locke

Book Overview: 

The book concerns the tangled lives of four people: Zora, a young widow who seeks some purpose in her life; Septimus Dix, an other-wordly but kind-hearted inventor of hopeless things; Clem Sypher, a larger than life businessman who is convinced his quack remedy will save the world; and Emmy, Zora’s younger sister, a rather flighty actress.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Zora did not hear the dire results of the interference. Sypher claimed her attention until the train was on the point of starting.

"Your address in England? You haven't given it."

"The Nook, Nunsmere, Surrey, will always find me."

"Nunsmere?" He paused, pencil in hand, and looked up at her as she stood framed in the railway carriage window. "I nearly bought a house there last year. I was looking out for one with a lawn reaching down to a main railway track. This one had it."

"Penton Court?"

"Yes. That was the name."

"It's still unsold," laughed Zora idly.

"I'll buy it at once," said he.

"En voiture," cried the guard.

Sypher put out his masterful hand.

"Au revoir. Remember. We are friends. I never say what I don't mean."

The train moved out of the station. Zora took her seat opposite Septimus.

"I really believe he'll do it," she said.


"Oh, something crazy," said. . . Read More

Community Reviews

The third of Locke’s novels I've read, but I felt it didn’t work as well as ‘Marcus Ordeyne’ and ‘The Beloved Vagabond’.

Why not? Largely because of Clem Sypher, whom I couldn’t see as English because his manner was, for me, that of an American businessman owing to his evangelical verve in promoti...more

Simple tale depicting the lives of four very unique persons...more

This is a brilliant romantic comedy. I haven’t read much in this genre, so perhaps I’m not the best judge. And, surely, this would be a vexation and an affront to feminists. But I am not a feminist, so, no matter.

British author William J. Locke has two excellent qualities:

1. He is a fine writer...more

I may have said this before, but William J. Locke is really good at creating individuals. His people are the farthest thing from stock characters you can imagine. So much so that a good part of the novel kept me guessing, who is going to end up with whom? Maybe nobody's going to end up with anybo...more

Glad I happened to discover this (through a recommendation found in Alfred Jay Nock's autobiography, which is a whole other story).

William John Locke was a bestselling author in his day and is now almost completely forgotten. He comes from an age when even silly popular stuff -- the kind of thing...more

I always enjoy stories that turn the table on cliche, convention and cardboard cutouts.

In Septimus we find a delightfully unusual hero who is modest, inconsequential in appearance, flighty, untidy, eccentric, and inventive. Mainly, he's inventive in developing complicated weaponry, which is pret...more