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Since the stage properties of a mystery story are its most important element, this is a first-rate novel of its kind. If not all of the murder properties are used, many of them are, and used effectively. Black-gloved hands, bloody keys, cellar vaults, and shuffling Chinamen are some of the devices. Around these as elements the story is well built, moving rapidly, surely, and with the many intensely gripping situations coming so rapidly on the heels of one another that the reader is sure, if it is possible, to read the book at one sitting.
It is probably true that the best sort of a novel of detectives and murder should have no love interest, but in this case it seems little out of place, and indeed, with the surprising tensity of the rest, some diversion is necessary. With two murders, two or three attempted murders, forgery and theft, much is needed to relieve the strain. The humor, such as it is, however, might better have been left out entirely.
It is safe to say that not one reader in many will guess either of the two important solutions, either that of the purpose of the new pin, or the identity of the murder.
The style and characterization are fully adequate, which is much more than can be said of the average present-day story of murder and mystery. Of course from some aspects the whole thing is absurd, but then what really exciting tale of this kind is not?
"The Clue of the New Pin" upholds the best English traditions of detectives, mystery, and murder, and should in our estimation, on the basis of merit alone, out sell all the recent writing of E. Philips Oppenheim.
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