The Swindler, and Other Stories By Ethel M. Dell

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The Swindler

4 stars to the first two stories!
I'm rating them together since they're a set. As a young girl Cynthia holds a professional swindler in admiration, since he cleverly swindled her out of five hundred pounds. On a voyage she meets a private detective called West who is bent on capturing this swindler called Nat Verney. Little did Cynthia know what the favor she asked of West would lead to. What follows is a man's lies to save the woman he loves from herself and another man's love for Cynthia, and how far he will go to make her happy, at his own expense.

Loved it! I was pretty sure who the hero was, but it was still very up in the air how things would work out. But between Cynthia's determination, an animal trap and a man's kindness things are bound to turn out for the better eventually...

The Nonentity 4 stars

Those that fight the hardest, fight in vain are Lord Ronald's opening words to Beryl.

Beryl is a widow will liked by everyone. Lord Ronald, a quiet friend of Beryl's, is a dull dog. He's practically colorless. He's neither a white, nor a black, but rather a grey sheep, which Beryl believes she dislikes above all things. A harmless, personality-less creature who reminds one of a faithful dog at your heels; he hasn't much go in him and doesn't take hints well, much to Beryl's annoyance. Thinking that she wants to be rid of her dull, yet faithful dog, she sends him packing after a proposal that shows Ronald's simplicity. She picks up a dashing 'black sheep' to spite him, and strange adventures follow.

I thought this was quite clever, what with snake charmers, trails in India and a heroine who doesn't let misunderstandings stew. And the hero has to be one of the most unusual yet.

Her Hero 2 1/2

This was a bit too contrived for me, in fact I misread a sentence in the beginning and thought there would be a reveal at the end, but I was mistaken. There was a reveal, but only of what was already obvious. Drat. Maybe that has something to do with my feelings.

An old maid in the family is determined to escape from their throwing her at the head of her American cousin, so she escapes into the country where she finds a man she knew years ago, and thus starts the romance. The two are clearly hiding things from each other, but they love and trust each other anyway. Despite barely knowing anything about each other. I feel that everything moved too fast. The romance, the conclusion and well, everything! It was all neatly wrapped up in a bow.

The Example 3 stars

Set in Africa during a siege, a man with mortal wounds goes about 'setting the example' for all the other wounded blokes. And he carries a secret to his death..

I'd have liked a little more, this was just a few pages, but it was good all the same.

The Friend who Stood By 3 stars

Two young people are deeply in love, but their parents oppose the match and are determined for their daughter Evelyn to marry a rich man named Lester Cheveril. However, when Cheveril overhears the two saying goodbye he decides to take matters in his own hands and work a happy ending for everyone. A foreign commission, a hoax engagement and a sudden high tide all play into things and turn everything Evelyn thought she wanted around on its head.

I liked it, sweet and happy.

The Right Man 3 stars

A twin brother and sister are in bad straights, their money is out and the brother has speculated their last cents. In a panic, the brother pressures his sister Violet to marry a man for his millions. Hastily accepting him, Violet quickly regrets her choice and looks for a way out. Will she get out? Does she really want to be free?

Not bad, very quick and as with most short stories the love seemed to suddenly burst in upon the reader.

The Knight Errant 4 stars

Ernestine Cardwell 'Chirpy', made the mistake of laughing at the wrong man, Dinghar Singh, a rajah's son. Since then she has had no peace from him, everywhere she goes, there he is. In a moment of desperation she sends a notice to the newspaper and a letter to a Poor Relation.

The notice reads: A marriage has been arranged and will shortly take place between Cecil Mordaunt Rivington and Ernestine, fourth daughter of Lady Florence Cardwell.

Rivington is greatly surprised by the notice, especially since he's the poor relation, and not considered eligible. Besides the fact that he is fifty and Ernestine can only be just out of the schoolroom. But when he reads a letter from Ernestine, he decides to play along with the game, just for a little while.

Another really good one! Singh may be painted remarkably black, but it's forgivable when you remember that a hero in one of the other tales is also Indian. Some fighting in this one.

A Question of Trust 4 stars

Stephanie lives on an island with her stepfather, who is governor of the dissatisfied people there. Too much absinthe had ruined what good judgment he had, and now with an uprising imminent, he pays it no heed. Pierre Dumaresq, thought to be the leader of the rebels, offers her escape, which she refuses seeing as he is an arrogant man she doesn't trust.

He tells her ' Whatever you expect from me, that you will receive in full measure.'

Forcing her to take his terms, he offers her a kind of freedom, and we have the excitement of escape, seafaring and the characters coming to know each other and themselves.

I wasn't into the hero at first, but by the end he'd won me over and I decided that other than being a bit too cocksure of himself at times, he's not such a bad sort. I'd really like to have had this one in a longer novel. It reminded me of something I've read and loved, I'm not sure what.

Where the Heart Is 3 stars

No one takes Tots seriously, so when he proposes to Ruth she thinks he's joking and in a moment of spite, jokingly accepts him.

The tangle that follows doesn't exist to Tots, and he carries on blissfully happy while she stews. Not bad, it was short, sweet and to the point.

G a bit of violence, no swears. The Swindler, and Other Stories Just The Swindler, read to me by Kelly and Katai on Public Domain Theater The Swindler, and Other Stories Cynthia sticking her hand in a animal trap was an adventure. The Swindler, and Other Stories