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» » Average Jones
Average Jones


Samuel Hopkins Adams


Average Jones


Literature & Fiction

PDF ebook size:

1513 kb

ePub ebook size:

1380 kb

Fb2 ebook size:

1229 kb

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Indypublish.Com (April 1, 2003)







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Average Jones by Samuel Hopkins Adams

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There were plenty of Holmes clones in the wake of the success of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and this is another one. The gimmick here is that our hero gets his cases through classified ads in the newspaper, as opposed to actual clients. (Nowadays, in the twlight of newspapers, it's hard to remember that there was a time the newspaper was an exciting technology.)

AVERAGE JONES is fine if not spectacular. Adams is not the writer Doyle or Bramah or Orczy were, but he's okay and the book bounces along with the kind of verve that pulp from this era had. While not exactly memorable, it's never less than readable. None of the stories here are really mysterious and most rely on some kind of gimmick. Some are forced (the two part "The Mercy Sign", "The B-Flat Trombone"), others work as essentially "gotcha!" shaggy dog stories ("The Man Who Spoke Latin", "The Million Dollar Dog".) Although it's really a shaggy dog story too I did like the idea behind "Blue Fires", and "Pin-Pricks" at least tries to be a more traditional sort of deductively-based mystery.

Not something to seek out, but it's okay.
The tone of the stories is about what you'd get if I.F. Stone wrote pulp detective fiction. Pretty transparent, one dimensional villains and repeated over and over. Usually Average Jones does something immoral to rip them off, so this feels like Lou Grant channeled through Tarantino.

The stories themselves vary in quality. Some have an ok twist to them and are readable as detective fictions. The bulk of them there really is no who/how dunnit although there is a "puzzle" the reader isnt given the clues to solve it. Nero Wolfe used the newspaper advertisement sparingly as a plot point. These stories use it obsessively- often with 4 or more classified ads being placed per short story. This become a deus ex machina as a reader of the Milk Delivery Journal, or some such, shows up at the right time with the incriminating bit of information.

My copy of the book didnt have any issues with the ad text not showing. I tried viewing on both a Fire and a HD and it looked fine with just a few OCR damages that dont effect readability. The writing style of Adam is of pretty fair quality and the stories bounce along well. They are very readable as throw-back entrainment even if Samuel Hopkins Adams is outclassed as a detective author by contemporaries like Jacques Futrelle.
I agree with the 3 prior positive reviewers on this book. I found the short story collection to be enjoyable and clearly written shortly after the turn of the 20th century. The stories are primarily set in NYC, and feature a wealthy detective who investigates intriguing classifieds and others ads which promise interest to him. The "average" is merely from an acronym for his initials. My main purpose in this review is to note that the transcription problems noted by the negative review did not appear in my kindle download.
There seems to be problems with transcribing some parts of books such as this. Throughout, the major turning points of the stories, which are quotes from either letters or newspaper articles, are completely missing. I am guessing that the missing sections appear in italics or some variant form.
This not the only book in which I have seen this -- makes the entire thing useless. A Mark Twain book was made undecodable.
one life
This is a group of stories that are unusual to bizarre and sometimes humorous and very entertaining and well worth the time to read.
This book is a good choice for anyone who loves detective stories with a splash of comedy. There were a couple of places where I did not follow his logic, but on the whole it is an enjoyable book.

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