The Five Flamboys. Francis Beeding.

The Five Flamboys.
Francis Beeding.

Little, Brown: 1929.

This mystery/adventure gets a regular guy involved in an international espionage scheme involving the overthrow of the Roumanian government. It’s truly impressive the number of plot twists Beeding is able to invent.

Excellent Hitchcockian adventure, even though it predates Hitchcock. One interesting thing about reading pulp fiction from this era is that, because the authors generally didn’t spend much time concerning themselves with high quality of writing (sort of like writing a blog, don’t you think?), a lot of colloquialisms come through, rendering several sentences absolutely unintelligible. In this case, outdated British slang makes a few spots even harder to figure out…

Character-wise, the evil villain is fairly interesting, as well as self-reflective, and the super-spy who helps the narrator is flat, but very cool in a pre-James Bond sort of way.