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The Eye of Osiris (The Dr. Thorndyke Mysteries Book 3) Kindle Edition
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About the Author
- ASIN : B00QR7HWBA
- Publisher : MysteriousPress.com/Open Road (December 30, 2014)
- Publication date : December 30, 2014
- Language : English
- File size : 3182 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 386 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 8826466963
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #569,581 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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The cast of characters is rich in Egyptologists. A wealthy old man, John Bellingham, collector of Egyptian antiquities, has disappeared without a trace. His brother is also an Egyptologist, as is his niece and the lawyer who executed his will. Circumstances strongly suggest that the old man is dead, and innocent people may be accused of murder. Happily Dr. Thorndyke gets involved quite by chance.
The story is peppered with Egyptian lore, and the eye of Osiris seems to hover over events. It symbolizes the great judge of the dead looking down upon humans to see that justice is done! But don't expect any mysticism or mummy curses. The devilry is human, and roundly defeated by Dr. Thorndyke's clear logic and sound science. The plot is tremendously clever, and the denouement a total surprise.
We're treated to a lively coroner's inquest complete with a comatose judge and a truculent juror. The author has a talent for creating comic relief with quirky minor characters. Best of all, a charming romance blooms amidst the mummies, hieroglyphics, and musty tomes in the British Museum.
R. Austin Freeman produced Thorndyke stories and novels from 1907 to 1943. I'm starting with the earliest works, and I love the Edwardian flavor of the writing. Freeman's obvious fascination with science, forensics, and criminal methods is nicely balanced with real sympathy for love and friendship.
This is the kind of challenging case Dr. Thorndyke, erudite and popular Medical Jurisprudence teacher at St. Margaret's Hospital, lives for. He calls his students' attention to the news article in the paper, suggesting they follow its progress. Two years later, Dr. Paul Berkeley, one of those students, now newly qualified, is called to a poor London neighborhood to see a Mr. Godfrey Bellingham. The name is familiar, and he soon learns this is the missing man's brother, who has now lost everything: his brother, his house, his income, and to a great extent, his health. The young doctor particularly notices the dignified, care-worn beauty of Godfrey's daughter Ruth. She, like her uncle, is a student of ancient Egypt.
The father of the Bellingham brothers had neglected to make a will. All his property went by default to elder son John, who gave Godfrey an annual allowance, now discontinued, equal to 25% of the income. John's will is problematic. Godfrey is the primary beneficiary, but he is required to see that John's body is duly buried in a London churchyard near other Bellingham graves. Otherwise, the property will go to the London cousin. With no body to bury, things are at an impasse, and Godfrey and Ruth are destitute. The cousin is threatening to go to court to claim the inheritance.
When Berkeley explains all this to Dr. Thorndyke, he is touched by the plight of the father and daughter, and intrigued by the possibilities of a complex legal and scientific puzzle that promises to test even his superior investigative skills. When he sees the will, his impression is that it was so written that its demands would be impossible to fulfill. (The legal complications are absolutely Dickensian!) In the mean time the newspapers report that police have found the bones of a human arm in a watercress bed in Kent, on property that belongs, or belonged, to Mr. John Bellingham.
Freeman was the most popular mystery writer of the period just prior to the Golden Age. His writing style is formal and a little old-fashioned today, but sprightly and often witty, the pace leisurely but not glacial. London comes alive, from Nevill's Court and Fetter Lane to the British Museum and its famous mummy Antinodorus. Freeman was never averse to incorporating coincidence into his plots. As Dr. Thorndyke wisely observes, "Life is made up of strange coincidences.... Nobody but a reviewer of novels is ever really surprised at a coincidence."