No one could mistake The Black Bag for literature with or without a capital L.
The Black Bag by Louis Joseph Vance
Illus. Thomas Fogarty. ©1908. 1908 bestseller #9.
Project Gutenberg ebook #9779. My grade: B.
Philip Kirkwood is preparing to leave London for San Francisco. A Mr. Calendar asks Philip to carry something to America for him.
Philip declines. He doesn’t trust Calendar.
In in the hotel dining room later, Calendar asks Philip to escort his daughter home, saying he expects to be arrested momentarily.
To spare the girl, Philip agrees.
Looking for a man with a girl, detectives stop Philip.
Calendar gets away.
“Home” turns out to be an unlighted townhouse with a “To Let” sign.
Walking to his hotel, Philip has second thoughts about leaving Miss Calendar there.
He returns, finds the door ajar, the building in darkness.
Within those events, Louis J. Vance has hidden all the prompts for Philip’s subsequent adventures—chases on land and sea by hansom, train, automobile, and boat—and the story’s dramatic denouement.
Discerning readers will see that within a year the besotted Philip will be bored stiff by Dorothy Calendar, but that’s a story for another novelist to tell.
© 2016 Linda Gorton Aragoni