|Publisher:||Hodder & Stoughton Limited|
The tale concerns a sapphire which was given to Captain Michael Crowther by the Burmese wife he was deserting. Having deserted his Burmese wife and child, he returns to find them again. They are alive, but out of his reach. He becomes a Buddist monk, and the sapphire, with certain other ornaments, adorn a temple, from whence they are stolen by two escaped convicts in monkish masquerade. It is the search for the stolen stone which is the thread of the story. [Suggest a different description.]
Author Bio for Mason, A. E. W. (Alfred Edward Woodley)
In 1910, Mason undertook to create a fictional detective as different as possible from Sherlock Holmes, who had recently been resuscitated after his supposed death by Arthur Conan Doyle in 1903. Inspector Gabriel Hanaud was stout, not gaunt like Holmes; a professional policeman, not a gentleman amateur; from the French surete, not Victorian England; and relying on psychological insights rather than physical evidence. His "Watson" is a retired London banker named Mr. Julius Ricardo.
Hanaud's appearance in the 1910 novel, At The Villa Rose marks "the first major fiction detective of the Twentieth Century," according to a historian of the genre. Set in the south of France, its plot also ridicules spiritualism and mediums, well-known enthusiasms of A. Conan Doyle.
Four more Hanaud novels and several short stories followed, the last, The House in Lordship Lane, in 1946 and the only one set in England.
The first Hanaud book was a best-seller, as were several of his 20 novels, and as such often adapted into films, often more than once. A 1920 version of At the Villa Rose was a great success in British movie theaters that year, even as a play version of the novel simultaneously began a long run at the Strand. A successful silent version of The Four Feathers followed the next year.
The first sound version was shot both in English and in French at Twickenham Studios in 1930, making it the first British bi-lingual production, released in America under the name The Mystery of the Villa Rose. This marked the film debut of Austin Trevor, an actor from Northern Ireland, in the role of Mr. Ricardo. Trevor would go on to be the first actor to create Hercule Poirot on the screen. Veteran British director Walter Summers directed At the Villa Rose, aka House of Mystery in 1940.
Mason's many subsequent novel adaptations appear to have been staples of the "quota quickies" churned out in the 1920s and 30s in Twickenham and other studios under the British requirements to shore up its local film industry against the enticements of Hollywood productions.--Wikipedia.
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