Harold MacGrath has the happy facility of producing novels that are better than they have any right to be.
In Half a Rogue, he does unexpected things with a predictable plot while keeping up a steady stream of commentary that makes a reader feel like MacGrath’s chosen confidant.
Half a Rogue by Harold MacGrath
1907 bestseller # 10. Project Gutenberg ebook #4790. My grade: B.
Richard Warrington, a playwright newly come to fame, becomes close friends with Kate Challone, a young actress who stars in his plays.
When Kate announces she’s to marry Jack Bennington, a man in Dick’s hometown with whom he roomed in college, Dick is delighted.
With Kate leaving the city for Herculaneum, Dick decides he’ll move back home.
Herculaneum society is not happy its biggest employer has married an actress.
It’s also not happy that Jack’s younger sister prefers Dick to the local boys.
And, when Dick is tapped to run for mayor, the corrupt local political machine is not happy.
A private eye is sent to New York to dig up dirt on Dick.
Half a Rogue is a most unromantic romance.
Harold MacGrath has given a true story about fictional people in an imaginary town.
The story ends not with a “happily ever after,” but with a sigh and a terse, “Could have been worse.”
As, indeed, every life might have been.
© 2017 Linda Gorton Aragoni