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The Agony Column

The Agony Column by Earl Derr Biggers
By: (1884-1933)

English romantic adventure starring a young American in London and inspired by the personal ads (agony columns) in the London papers. In this treacherous tale of murder and intrigue young American Geoffrey West tracks a killer from the posh dining room of the Carlton Hotel to the opium dens of London’s Limehouse district in search of the truth and the heart of his true love only to find the culprit all too close to home.

Earl Derr Biggers is better known as the author of numerous Charlie Chan novels.

The Agony Column was released as a movie under the name Second Floor Mystery in 1930. While this movie was in production, its two stars, Loretta Young and Grant Withers, eloped.

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by Earl Derr Biggers


London that historic summer was almost unbearably hot. It seems, looking back, as though the big baking city in those days was meant to serve as an anteroom of torture an inadequate bit of preparation for the hell that was soon to break in the guise of the Great War. About the soda water bar in the drug store near the Hotel Cecil many American tourists found solace in the sirups and creams of home. Through the open windows of the Piccadilly tea shops you might catch glimpses of the English consuming quarts of hot tea in order to become cool. It is a paradox they swear by.

About nine o'clock on the morning of Friday, July twenty fourth, in that memorable year nineteen hundred and fourteen, Geoffrey West left his apartments in Adelphi Terrace and set out for breakfast at the Carlton. He had found the breakfast room of that dignified hotel the coolest in London, and through some miracle, for the season had passed, strawberries might still be had there. As he took his way through the crowded Strand, surrounded on all sides by honest British faces wet with honest British perspiration he thought longingly of his rooms in Washington Square, New York... Continue reading book >>

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Reviews (Rated: 5 Stars - 6 reviews)

Reviewer: - June 21, 2016
Subject: The Agony Column
Very good book, good reader!
Reviewer: - March 13, 2015
Great reader with just the right inflection...and what a surprise!
Reviewer: - January 23, 2014
Subject: The agony column
Darling book. Excellent reader. Very nice voice. Surprise ending. Very clever story. Well written.
Reviewer: - November 18, 2013
A good story well read!
Reviewer: - May 14, 2013
Excellent story!
Reviewer: - March 17, 2013
Very good book...never would have guessed...great reader

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