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At the Villa Rose

A. E. W. Mason

Book Overview: 

Harry Wethermill, the brilliant young scientist, a graduate of Oxford and Munich, has made a fortune from his inventions, and is taking a vacation at Aix-les-Bains. There he meets, and immediately falls in love with, the young and beautiful Celia Harland, who serves as companion to the aging but warm-hearted Madam Dauvray of Paris. All this is observed by Julius Ricardo, a retired financier from the City of London, who spends every August at Aix, expecting there to find a pleasant and peaceful life. Imagine his consternation when he learns that Mme. Dauvray has been brutally murdered, and imagine Harry Wethermill's consternation when he learns that every finger of suspicion is pointed at the now vanished Celia Harland.
Implored to do so by Wethermill, Ricardo asks his friend Inspector Hanaud, the great detective of the Paris Sûreté (who is also vacationing in Aix) to involve himself in the case so that the truth may come out. Hanaud agrees to do so (with the permission of the Aix police, of course), and goes to work. Will he be up to the job? And will Harry Wethermill ultimately be glad that he called in the great man? We can only wait to find out.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Leamington and the apparatus of a spiritualistic show. After all, he reflected triumphantly, Hanaud had not noticed everything, and as he made the reflection Hanaud's voice broke in to corroborate him.

"We have seen everything here; let us go upstairs," he said. "We will first visit the room of Mlle. Celie. Then we will question the maid, Helene Vauquier."

The four men, followed by Perrichet, passed out by the door into the hall and mounted the stairs. Celia's room was in the southwest angle of the villa, a bright and airy room, of which one window overlooked the road, and two others, between which stood the dressing-table, the garden. Behind the room a door led into a little white-tiled bathroom. Some towels were tumbled upon the floor beside the bath. In the bedroom a dark-grey frock of tussore and a petticoat were flung carelessly on the bed; a big grey hat of Ottoman silk was lying upon a chest of drawers in the recess of a window; and upon . . . Read More

Community Reviews

The Murder at the Villa Rose (1910) opens at the gaming tables of Monte Carlo with a young, handsome Englishman in the process of breaking the bank. Our focal point for the scene, Julius Ricardo, is an observer in Monte Carlo and sees a beautiful, young woman in distress in the gardens. It soon beco

This is a 1910 mystery novel by English author Alfred Edward Woodley Mason (A.E.W. Mason) and is the first book in his Inspector Hanaud series. The setting is in late 1900s in the spa town of Aix-les-Bains in southeastern France, across the border from Geneva. It is a police procedural book and is v

Villain or victim?

Mr Julius Ricardo is enjoying himself at the casino in Aux-les-Bains, people-watching. This night the person he’s most interested in is a beautiful young girl, who at first seems to be in the depths of despair. Later in the evening, Ricardo sees her again with a friend of his, Harr

Poche pagine, soltanto 150 pag circa, per un giallo che mi ha stupito. Ho fatto la scoperta dell'ispettore Gabriel Hanaud che nonostante i suoi modi queruli e pomposi si è dimostrato l'unico a poter risolvere il caso scavalcando con la sua arguzia i diversi aiutanti alla Watson accanto a lui. Il rom

I almost sprung for 3 stars, but...

A.E.W Mason is one of those transitional writers occupying the period in between Victorian Mystery and Golden Age mystery. Doyle had written most of his Holmes stories, but Christie hadn't yet written any Hercule Poirot mysteries when Mason's Detective Hanaud showe

A brilliant who-dun-it mystery! It's easy to see where Agatha Christie got her inspiration for Hercule Poirot and his sidekick Hastings. One "Inspector Hanaud" novel down - six more to read - not to mention the long list of other novels by A.E.W. Mason. Looking forward to it.

A fun little mystery written at the very beginning of the twentieth century, looking forward to work by later writers like Agatha Christie. The main detective is very reminiscent of Poirot, and Ricardo, with his eager interest in the crime and persistent misreading of the clues that allows the detec

It's a fun read with an interesting plot and characters well developed, classically non offensive. Pleasantly performed & clearly narrated. Recommended.

A very nice whodunit with (my opinion) the prototype for Colombo. Detective Hanaud is an early example of the quirky policeman that Peter Falk brought to TV so well. The guilt of one suspect is fairly obvious, but the twist in the final act is deftly done.

If you can find a copy, this book is definit

I know that Mason was a pioneer in the genre of the British version of the French inspector of superior intelligence solving crimes--a precursor to Poirot and a descendant of the un-French Holmes (evidenced by his Ricardo, i.e. Watson). However, I think I have become tired of country house mysteries

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