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The Late Mrs. Null   By: (1834-1902)

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The Late Mrs. Null by Frank Richard Stockton is a delightful and humorous tale that introduces readers to the eccentric Mrs. Maria Margaretta Null. Set in a small New Jersey town in the 19th century, the story follows Mrs. Null, a wealthy and highly respected widow who suddenly disappears, leaving everyone wondering what happened to her.

The narrative takes unexpected twists and turns as various characters try to unravel the mystery behind Mrs. Null's disappearance. The author weaves a captivating web of intrigue, seamlessly blending humor and suspense throughout the pages. Stockton's writing style is engaging, with a delightful mix of wit and charm that keeps readers hooked until the very end.

One of the highlights of the novel is the array of quirky and unforgettable characters that inhabit the town. From the bumbling detective to the eccentric neighbors, each character adds their own unique flavor to the story. Stockton's exploration of their idiosyncrasies adds depth and humor to the plot, making the reader eager to uncover their secrets.

Furthermore, the author's portrayal of small-town life in the 19th century is richly detailed and vivid. He captures the essence of the setting, allowing readers to immerse themselves in the sights, sounds, and customs of the era. The quaint atmosphere creates a cozy backdrop for the unfolding mystery, further captivating the reader's imagination.

The Late Mrs. Null is a delightful combination of mystery, humor, and social commentary. Stockton expertly showcases the absurdities and idiosyncrasies of human nature through his characters, often poking gentle fun at societal norms of the time. His observations and satirical undertones give the story a refreshing and thought-provoking edge.

Despite its entertaining nature, the novel does have its moments of slower pacing, with some plotlines feeling a tad stretched. However, these minor lulls are easily overlooked in light of the overall charm and wit of the story.

In conclusion, The Late Mrs. Null is a highly enjoyable and engaging read. Stockton's unique blend of mystery and humor, coupled with colorful characters and a vivid historical setting, creates an enchanting narrative that will surely entertain readers of all ages. Whether you are a fan of mysteries or simply enjoy a well-crafted tale, this book is a delightful choice.

First Page:






There was a wide entrance gate to the old family mansion of Midbranch, but it was never opened to admit the family or visitors; although occasionally a load of wood, drawn by two horses and two mules, came between its tall chestnut posts, and was taken by a roundabout way among the trees to a spot at the back of the house, where the chips of several generations of sturdy wood choppers had formed a ligneous soil deeper than the arable surface of any portion of the nine hundred and fifty acres which formed the farm of Midbranch. This seldom opened gate was in a corner of the lawn, and the driving of carriages, or the riding of horses through it to the porch at the front of the house would have been the ruin of the short, thick grass which had covered that lawn, it was generally believed, ever since Virginia became a State.

But there had to be some way for people who came in carriages or on horseback to get into the house, and therefore the fence at the bottom of the lawn, at a point directly in front of the porch, was crossed by a set of broad wooden steps, five outside and five inside, with a platform at the top. These stairs were wide enough to accommodate eight people abreast; so that if a large carriage load of visitors arrived, none of them need delay in crossing the fence... Continue reading book >>

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