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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great period mysteries of intrigue, March 8, 2008
Mr. Moto was sort of a Japanese version of Charlie Chan, (the latter being a Chinese character). Probably the chief reason that Mr. Moto ceased to be popularly read, (while Charlie Chan went on to greater fame), was due to the Pearl Harbor Invasion! John P. Marquand's timing could not have been worse, (although there is at least one post WW II Mr. Moto entry). These three stories (novella-length mysteries) were written in 1936, '37, and '38.

However, now that we are back on great terms with the Japanese people, it's a good time to explore these fine mysteries of international intrigue. Mr. Moto is an ultra-polite, but shrewd and determined, world-class detective. And John P. Marquand presented him masterfully -- his character development, story ideas, and settings are just superb.

This is a very nice compendium of three of the very best Mr. Moto tales. They include "Thank You, Mr. Moto", "Think Fast, Mr. Moto", and, "Mr. Moto Is So Sorry". The three stories take up a total of 447 pages, sporting a fairly small, but very readable, font.

If you would enjoy a nostalgic, pre-WW II trip into the doings of spies, high adventure in foreign lands, and compelling mystery, you'll love this book. This is a great volume to curl up with on a rainy Saturday afternoon. I enjoyed it very much, (and will re-read it), giving it my highest recommendation.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost treasure for mystery buffs, October 4, 2007
This review is from: Mr. Moto's Three Aces (Hardcover)
Why don't we hear much about the Mr. Moto stories? Because most were written just prior to WW II and Mr. Moto was Japanese! So, Moto's popularity as an international detective was cut short. Now, however, once you read this series, you'll wish that Marquand had written a lot MORE Mr. Moto mysteries. Mr. Moto was very slick, analogous to Charlie Chan, (who was Chinese, and therefore remained popular), but not quite as corny. If you enjoy exotic locations, mystery, suspense and, like to see the good guys win in the end, then you'll love this volume. Don't miss it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lost Treasures Indeed, December 17, 2013
Anne Mills (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mr. Moto's Three Aces (Hardcover)
I couldn't agree more with the other reviewer -- the Mr. Moto novels are indeed a lost treasure for enthusiasts of detective fiction. This omnibus is made up of three spy novels by John Marquand, all featuring the inscrutable Mr. Moto, and all very much period pieces. The books were written in 1936, 1937, and 1938, and drip with the atmosphere of a world already at war in Asia. They have the prejudices of their period (most of the "Orientals" are "wily" and "inscrutable") but they also present the atmosphere of the time very vividly. The three novels are variations on the same plot -- young American man gets involved in intrigue which is way over his head, and gets out of it with the help of Mr. Moto and a beautiful girl. They are set around the Pacific, and bring another era very much to life
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Moto, July 8, 2012
Is a pulp still a pulp if it is well written? Well, John P. Marquand actually won a Pulitzer. He also wrote for some of the slickest of slick magazines, like the Saturday Evening Post.

Somewhat incongrously, the Mr. Moto stories are about as formulaic as you can get. The main ingrediants seem to be a young American hero, an exotic background, a deadly peril, a love interest. The twist is that Mr. Moto always enters the story from the background. He is a bit like the shark in Jaws, and I believe this is a very clever device for preserving his dynamism. In contrast, the many Sherlock Holmes clones are more or less all failures in my opinion.

There is a lot of PC sensitivity when it comes to these old Asian character detectives, but I believe it is much ado about nothing. No nation-character (even be he European) is ever really accurate or even generally non-stereotypical. Indeed, no fictional character (I don't care what others say) is anything but 2-D.

Mr. Moto is unmistakably a good guy, though he is also, probably of necessity, (when it comes to the villains and settings) utterly ruthless. In one story, he uses the word "liquidate."

Interestingly, there is an contemporaneous political element that sometimes enters into the background. Mr. Moto is a friend of America and, in the background, he sometimes struggles against the political forces that seem to be leading Japan to war. I would not call Marquand prescient though: more likely he was just following the regular news of his time.

Though the plots are formulaic, it is an entertaining formula. Marquand's prose here is not exactly poetry, but it is well above average -- almost uniquely so -- for pulps. The writing quality and short length of these novels (both lost arts today) combine to make this a fun and compelling read.
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Mr. Moto's Three Aces
Mr. Moto's Three Aces by John P. Marquand (Hardcover - 1938)
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