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The Orange-Yellow Diamond by J. S. Fletcher, Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Historical

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Lauriston bent over the counter at last and craned his neck to look into the open door of a little parlor which lay behind the shop. The next instant, with no thought but of the exigencies of the moment, he had leapt over the partition and darted into the room. There, stretched out across the floor, his head lying on the hearthrug, his hands lying inert and nerveless at hi Lauriston bent over the counter at last and craned his neck to look into the open door of a little parlor which lay behind the shop. The next instant, with no thought but of the exigencies of the moment, he had leapt over the partition and darted into the room. There, stretched out across the floor, his head lying on the hearthrug, his hands lying inert and nerveless at his sides, lay an old man, grey-bearded, venerable -- Daniel Multenius, no doubt. He lay very still, very statuesque -- and Lauriston, bending over and placing a trembling hand on the high, white forehead, knew that he was dead. He started up -- his only idea that of seeking help. The whole place was so still that he knew he was alone with the dead in it. Instinctively, he ran through the front shop to the street door -- and into the arms of a man who was just entering.


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Lauriston bent over the counter at last and craned his neck to look into the open door of a little parlor which lay behind the shop. The next instant, with no thought but of the exigencies of the moment, he had leapt over the partition and darted into the room. There, stretched out across the floor, his head lying on the hearthrug, his hands lying inert and nerveless at hi Lauriston bent over the counter at last and craned his neck to look into the open door of a little parlor which lay behind the shop. The next instant, with no thought but of the exigencies of the moment, he had leapt over the partition and darted into the room. There, stretched out across the floor, his head lying on the hearthrug, his hands lying inert and nerveless at his sides, lay an old man, grey-bearded, venerable -- Daniel Multenius, no doubt. He lay very still, very statuesque -- and Lauriston, bending over and placing a trembling hand on the high, white forehead, knew that he was dead. He started up -- his only idea that of seeking help. The whole place was so still that he knew he was alone with the dead in it. Instinctively, he ran through the front shop to the street door -- and into the arms of a man who was just entering.

30 review for The Orange-Yellow Diamond by J. S. Fletcher, Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Historical

  1. 5 out of 5

    K.J. Charles

    This 20s-written murder mystery set in London manages the feat of being both impressively diverse and hugely racist. On the one hand a terrific lower-class Jewish amateur detective is the unquestionable hero and intellectual centre of the whole thing and stars in the happy ending; on the other, Horrendous Stereotype Klaxon. Let's not even talk about the Chinese opium den and eye-watering narrative treatment of Asian people. All which said, I don't know if this book featuring a London full of thr This 20s-written murder mystery set in London manages the feat of being both impressively diverse and hugely racist. On the one hand a terrific lower-class Jewish amateur detective is the unquestionable hero and intellectual centre of the whole thing and stars in the happy ending; on the other, Horrendous Stereotype Klaxon. Let's not even talk about the Chinese opium den and eye-watering narrative treatment of Asian people. All which said, I don't know if this book featuring a London full of thriving immigrants (Maltese, Scots, Burmese, Japanese, South Africans, many of them not actually murderers despite the book's high body count) is actually much more offensive than modern historicals that present London as all-white and predominantly upper class plus servants. At least this one recognises that other people and classes exist.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    The mystery in The Orange-Yellow Diamond is actually quite good. The characters are also by and large engaging and interesting. However, this book was written in 1921 Britain, and it features Chinese, Japanese and Jewish people. The prejudicial stereotypes of the day really made me wince on many occasions. Even then it had to have been perjorative to call Chinese people "Chinks" and Japanese people "Japs." That the police and other crime solvers (mostly Jewish characters) do it here is a problem The mystery in The Orange-Yellow Diamond is actually quite good. The characters are also by and large engaging and interesting. However, this book was written in 1921 Britain, and it features Chinese, Japanese and Jewish people. The prejudicial stereotypes of the day really made me wince on many occasions. Even then it had to have been perjorative to call Chinese people "Chinks" and Japanese people "Japs." That the police and other crime solvers (mostly Jewish characters) do it here is a problem. This is the fourth J.S. Fletcher novel I've read, and the only one so far that is so unacceptably prejudiced for the contemporary reader.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jack

    An Edwardian murder mystery with plenty of Edwardian racial stereotypes.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ila

    Good book

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ape

    Um. I have very mixed feelings on this one. On the one hand it is a good mystery typically of J S Fletcher (although did I miss something – I’m still not sure who killed the Chinese man at his house). There are many twists and turns, and rushings around ye olde London. What starts off as the murder of an old Jewish pawnbroker evolves into an international gemstone robbery. Written in the 1920s, it does have that “by jove!” kind of innocence and charm about it, with people leaping to conclusions, Um. I have very mixed feelings on this one. On the one hand it is a good mystery typically of J S Fletcher (although did I miss something – I’m still not sure who killed the Chinese man at his house). There are many twists and turns, and rushings around ye olde London. What starts off as the murder of an old Jewish pawnbroker evolves into an international gemstone robbery. Written in the 1920s, it does have that “by jove!” kind of innocence and charm about it, with people leaping to conclusions, being disturbingly gullible at times, and also showing disturbingly bad police procedure, which I hope was just fictional! If it was written today it would be rubbish, but there is a charm to this harking back to the good old days. That’s why I like reading J S Fletcher books. However, something was apparent in this book that I’d not picked up on in his other books. And for this reason I wouldn’t really recommend reading it. Because this is the kind of of-its-time old-school charm that I don’t think we want to necessarily remember. There is a lot of casual racism and racist stereotyping in this book. Yes, I understand that it is a product of its time, and sadly that’s the way a lot of people thought back then. But as I read these books for their lost charm, the racism kind of negatates that. It’s a shame because otherwise it is one of his better plots. Honestly it made me whince at times to read what was written. Most ethnic groups get a mention, so it’s certainly not picking on any particular group – Jewish people, black people, Chinese people and the Japanese all get their derogatory names and stereotyped descriptions here. Another sign of the times is the treatment of the women. Most of this book is basically a little boys’ club of running around London playing at detectives and having “by jove!” conversations. There are three women in the book, a governess at Levendale’s house, Mrs Goldmark who runs a little café near the pawnbrokers, and Zillah, who is the granddaughter of the murdered pawnbroker (although another poor orphan girl taken into care by an older male relative, who is about to come into money). The girls don’t get to play detective, and are left at home to be emotional and keep house. Worse, they just seen to get in the way of the boys playing serious detectives. There’s an awful bit when the young Scotsman, Lauriston, has discovered the body of the murdered pawnbroker. A detective has just come onto the property as well, and they are stood talking about what to do now. Zillah choses that moment to come home from shopping, and despite the fact that she’s got some awful news coming her way, she is treated as an inconvenience to the little boys’ detective game. Considering she comes upon two men in her house who shouldn’t normally be there, this is how they respond to her AND break the news of her grandfather’s death: "Now, my dear!" he said. "Don't get upset--your grandfather was getting a very old man, you know--and we can't expect old gentlemen to live for ever. Take it quietly, now!" (p.16) Yes, shut up and don’t make a fuss, little lady; the men have work to do. It’s a shame that some of these society attitudes/racism have come through so strongly, because if you avoid that, it is an adventure/mystery of awfully good fun. But as J S Fletcher wrote so many books, perhaps this one is best left on the shelf in favour of other ones.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tessa Garrison

    People are here are rating it low because of the racial stereotypes. I think that's a sad thing to do. Many of the greatest books I've ever read have racial stereotypes. It's just the time period it was written in. Anyway. Good read, I found myself unable to put it down at times. Although it didn't conclude exactly the way I thought it would, I still very much enjoyed the book overall. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes murder mysteries. People are here are rating it low because of the racial stereotypes. I think that's a sad thing to do. Many of the greatest books I've ever read have racial stereotypes. It's just the time period it was written in. Anyway. Good read, I found myself unable to put it down at times. Although it didn't conclude exactly the way I thought it would, I still very much enjoyed the book overall. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes murder mysteries.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anna Rossi

    Un guazzabuglio di indizi, un'infinità di personaggi e una moltitudine di cittadini che offrono tracce che hanno visto o sentito che riconoscono questo o quello. La storia non gode molta credibilità nel suo insieme e le indagini vengono condotte in modo molto poco ortodosso: tutti vengono messi al corrente di tutto o quasi e non solo... Un guazzabuglio di indizi, un'infinità di personaggi e una moltitudine di cittadini che offrono tracce che hanno visto o sentito che riconoscono questo o quello. La storia non gode molta credibilità nel suo insieme e le indagini vengono condotte in modo molto poco ortodosso: tutti vengono messi al corrente di tutto o quasi e non solo...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    Another good read by Fletcher. Many previous reviews have mentioned the stereotyping of the different races and nationalities but based on the time frame of turn of the century, I found this made it more believable for the era. One cannot expect today's standards to apply in a book written so long ago. Another good read by Fletcher. Many previous reviews have mentioned the stereotyping of the different races and nationalities but based on the time frame of turn of the century, I found this made it more believable for the era. One cannot expect today's standards to apply in a book written so long ago.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Yibbie

    A fine mystery story. I never expected the detective/hero to be who it was.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Simon Mcleish

    Although I thought this novel worked well as a thriller, it is very old fashioned now. Many readers will be offended by the use of the n-word, plus racist stereotyping of Chinese and Japanese people - not considered offensive at the time it was written, but likely to cause at the very least discomfort on reading.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Emanuela

    Antologia I capolavori del giallo Insolita la storia ma con un ritmo troppo lento per essere un giallo. Fletcher non è riuscito a tenermi con il fiato sospeso, il curioso finale mi ha lasciata alquanto esterrefatta.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Pretty good classic mystery. A young author from Scotland is running out of money and decides to pawn something. He meets a young woman at the shop. Later he goes back to pawn something else and finds the woman's father dead. Unfortunately, he is under suspicion because of his presence and also some rings he has come to pawn. The woman's cousin and a friend of the young man help the police figure out what happened. Several threads of possibilities are narrowed down to one in the end. Fairly well Pretty good classic mystery. A young author from Scotland is running out of money and decides to pawn something. He meets a young woman at the shop. Later he goes back to pawn something else and finds the woman's father dead. Unfortunately, he is under suspicion because of his presence and also some rings he has come to pawn. The woman's cousin and a friend of the young man help the police figure out what happened. Several threads of possibilities are narrowed down to one in the end. Fairly well written.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marts (Thinker)

    Pawn broking and murder in London, South African diamonds, old cafés, writers, policemen, Chinese and Japanese students, Spanish manuscripts, and alot of money... All this presents a rather exciting tale...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    When in 1912 an elderly pawnbroker, Multenius, is murdered a young, poor writer, Andrew Lauriston, is accused of the crime. Not a simple straightforward story but somewhat complicated and meandering, but overall an enjoyable mystery.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    I would guess that this book is a good representative of the sensational literature of its time. A penniless writer, a Jewish pawnbroker, the stalwart friend, inscrutable orientals, a priceless diamond from South Africa, and various returned colonials are the ingredients of this potboiler, but what stood out to me most was the very ingrained racism. Every person the hero, (the penniless writer in question) encounters, is described in function of their race, more specifically as to how much Jewis I would guess that this book is a good representative of the sensational literature of its time. A penniless writer, a Jewish pawnbroker, the stalwart friend, inscrutable orientals, a priceless diamond from South Africa, and various returned colonials are the ingredients of this potboiler, but what stood out to me most was the very ingrained racism. Every person the hero, (the penniless writer in question) encounters, is described in function of their race, more specifically as to how much Jewish blood they might have. This is based on their names, but also physical characteristics, in brief : the most superficial type of racial profiling. At the same time, the Jewish characters in the book are not villains, and Melky, fellow-boarder of the hero, cousin to the love interest and grandson to the first victim, is sympathetically described as a clever youngster who was raised in the school of hard knocks. As for the Chinese and Japanese medical students in the book, they come with all the cliches : reserved, mysterious, smiling-but-treacherous. There's even an opium den in the book! Other red herrings include a mysterious Spanish book and the disappearance of a well-to-do businessman with links to the colonies. In short : a sensational, old-fashioned story, that can teach the modern reader something about racial attitudes in the UK in the 1920s.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Victor

    Old style adventure yarn with a lot of twist and turn .For those who like Sax Rohmer or his ilk, this is a very nice book. I liked it well enough but it's not in the same class of The Middle Temple Murder.The main problem was that there were too many secondary detectives and the primary detective was too dense . It has got all the old world charm of a story peopled with Japs ,chinks,mysterious oriental poison and slant eyed villains... If you don't find these charming ,avoid this one like plague Old style adventure yarn with a lot of twist and turn .For those who like Sax Rohmer or his ilk, this is a very nice book. I liked it well enough but it's not in the same class of The Middle Temple Murder.The main problem was that there were too many secondary detectives and the primary detective was too dense . It has got all the old world charm of a story peopled with Japs ,chinks,mysterious oriental poison and slant eyed villains... If you don't find these charming ,avoid this one like plague.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kat Steinke

    The nicest way of describing this book would be "a product of its time". Maybe it's just that all that made me particularly harsh on what remains of the plot, too. Not to mention MUST HAVE SOMEONE CHANGE THEIR NAME INCREDIBLY UNSUBTLY. The nicest way of describing this book would be "a product of its time". Maybe it's just that all that made me particularly harsh on what remains of the plot, too. Not to mention MUST HAVE SOMEONE CHANGE THEIR NAME INCREDIBLY UNSUBTLY.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    Strange mystery ending was a twist. Well narrated by various readers. Classically non offensive. Recommended. Librivox Gutenberg

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Dunsbee

    Fun ...but repeats of info in conversation, rather daft at times and very stereotypical racial portraits.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Peeyopeeyogmail.Com

    Really racist

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rita

    https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    It's startling to me how many times in Fletcher's mysteries, his characters (non-police) find a piece of evidence at the crime scene and surreptitiously pocket it, to hunt for the villain without giving the police the benefit of their find; and they never get in trouble with the law for it! And another thing, these criminals who change their names MUST learn to go to a different set of initials than their real names. That's always suspect. And I wonder if the police in London 100 years ago real It's startling to me how many times in Fletcher's mysteries, his characters (non-police) find a piece of evidence at the crime scene and surreptitiously pocket it, to hunt for the villain without giving the police the benefit of their find; and they never get in trouble with the law for it! And another thing, these criminals who change their names MUST learn to go to a different set of initials than their real names. That's always suspect. And I wonder if the police in London 100 years ago really let interested parties (non-police) casually take part in their raids on opium dens. The characters in this were quite fun and varied. I think this was brought home more distinctly by the fact that I listened to this as an unusual Librivox.org audio version where all of the dialogue was read by various readers, with one narrator throughout. Be warned, there is lots of racial stereotyping.

  23. 4 out of 5

    P.

    I liked this one. There are several strong, intelligent characters and a complicated plot that moves along nicely thanks to the capable two who do all the heavy lifting. Which isn't to say there isn't an odd problem here. What is that problem? The final mystery, that final complication of this complicated plot is never resolved. The book just segues into one of the romantic encounters that Fletcher did so poorly and it's over. Well, you can't have everything and I liked this one despite itself. I liked this one. There are several strong, intelligent characters and a complicated plot that moves along nicely thanks to the capable two who do all the heavy lifting. Which isn't to say there isn't an odd problem here. What is that problem? The final mystery, that final complication of this complicated plot is never resolved. The book just segues into one of the romantic encounters that Fletcher did so poorly and it's over. Well, you can't have everything and I liked this one despite itself.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Glasser

    Read this book for free through Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/9... Read this book for free through Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/9...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    un po' datato ma piacevole un po' datato ma piacevole

  26. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

  28. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Pomeroy

  29. 5 out of 5

    Steve Porch

  30. 4 out of 5

    Steven Gresty

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