“The Stir Outside the CafĂ© Royal” by Clarence Rook

I love a good detective story, although this one doesn’t quite fit the bill for me. There is not much actual detecting, no showing how the clues are followed. I know nothing about the author other than that he died in 1915.

Colonel Mathurin was one of the aristocrats of crime; at least Mathurin was the name under which he had accomplished a daring bank robbery in Detroit which had involved the violent death of the manager, though it was generally believed by the police that the Rossiter who was at the bottom of some long-firm frauds in Melbourne was none other than Mathurin under another name, and that the designer and chief gainer in a sensational murder case in the Midlands was the same mysterious and ubiquitous personage.

The story tells how on pleasant, sunny day in London a young American woman, alone in the city, manages to trick this criminal into entering a police station and then has him arrested. But she knows that he’s the bad guy. She doesn’t have to figure it out.

I can’t tell you much more of the plot, because I don’t want to spoil it. Suffice it to say her plan was simple and brilliant. The characters are not the stars of the story, although we do by the end what motivated the heroine, Miss Nora van Snoop, we understand why the arrest was so important to her. The plot is what drives the story, how the woman tracks the man and pretty much outsmarts the master criminal.

I read this story in The Oxford Book of English Detective Stories edited by Patricia Craig which I borrowed from the library. John hosts Short Story Monday at The Book Mine Set. Head over there to see what he and others have been reading.

The above is my honest opinion. I am an Amazon associate.


  • This doesn’t sound impressive, but I’m thrilled you’re reading The Phantom of the Opera – I love the musical and was contemplating if the book was worth a shot. Can’t wait for the review!

  • Sounds like a great story! I think I would probably like it a lot.
    The character Nora van Snoop, (what a name), for some reason caught my attention. I guess put a name and the word arrest in the same sentence and my brain can’t function….. lol

    Great review! I’m adding to my ever-growing list!

  • This sounds like a good story and a good book for detective stories. I love good detective stories too. I’m going to check my library. You have intrigued me to the point of wanting to know the rest of the story.

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