|Title:||Musk and Amber|
|Publisher:||Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc.|
This is the story of a strange crime, a strange punishment. Julian, youthful heir to a great name, a great fortune and a house in 18th century England, is cheated of his birthright by a jealous half-sister and her cousin-paramour. But Julian survives, accepts the identity foisted upon him, as child of Italian fisherfolk, and—while taking advantage of the opportunity for a musical career which a glorious voice affords him—secretly dedicates his life to a pattern of revenge. In this aim he is almost foiled by the jealousy of a fellow musician, who makes his life forfeit on a trumped up charge, in politics ridden Venice. But he escapes, sided by an elderly Englishman, longtime family friend, who recognizes him and keeps his secret, and more by good luck than good management, he escapes from Venice, and eventually gets to England, where he carries out his revenge, slays his successor in a duel, and leaves intact the sanctity of the name and place he loved.—Kirkus Review. [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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