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The Four Just Men

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When the Foreign Secretary Sir Philip Ramon receives a threatening, greenish-grey letter signed FOUR JUST MEN, he remains determined to see his Aliens Extradition Bill made law. A device in the members' smokeroom and a sudden magnesium flash that could easily have been nitro-glycerine leave Scotland Yard baffled. Even Fleet Street cannot identify the illusive Manfred, Gons When the Foreign Secretary Sir Philip Ramon receives a threatening, greenish-grey letter signed FOUR JUST MEN, he remains determined to see his Aliens Extradition Bill made law. A device in the members' smokeroom and a sudden magnesium flash that could easily have been nitro-glycerine leave Scotland Yard baffled. Even Fleet Street cannot identify the illusive Manfred, Gonsalez, Pioccart and Thery - FOUR JUST MEN dedicated to punishing by death those whom conventional justice can not touch.


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When the Foreign Secretary Sir Philip Ramon receives a threatening, greenish-grey letter signed FOUR JUST MEN, he remains determined to see his Aliens Extradition Bill made law. A device in the members' smokeroom and a sudden magnesium flash that could easily have been nitro-glycerine leave Scotland Yard baffled. Even Fleet Street cannot identify the illusive Manfred, Gons When the Foreign Secretary Sir Philip Ramon receives a threatening, greenish-grey letter signed FOUR JUST MEN, he remains determined to see his Aliens Extradition Bill made law. A device in the members' smokeroom and a sudden magnesium flash that could easily have been nitro-glycerine leave Scotland Yard baffled. Even Fleet Street cannot identify the illusive Manfred, Gonsalez, Pioccart and Thery - FOUR JUST MEN dedicated to punishing by death those whom conventional justice can not touch.

30 review for The Four Just Men

  1. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    Surprisingly contemporary... When the British Foreign Secretary decides to push through a law which will allow the enforced return of political refugees to their countries of origin, he becomes a target of the Four Just Men – a group of vigilantes who set out to right what they perceive as wrongs that the normal systems of justice can't touch. The story is a kind of cat-and-mouse game where the reader, along with the entire British public, waits to see if the Four Just Men succeed in carrying out Surprisingly contemporary... When the British Foreign Secretary decides to push through a law which will allow the enforced return of political refugees to their countries of origin, he becomes a target of the Four Just Men – a group of vigilantes who set out to right what they perceive as wrongs that the normal systems of justice can't touch. The story is a kind of cat-and-mouse game where the reader, along with the entire British public, waits to see if the Four Just Men succeed in carrying out their threat to assassinate the Foreign Secretary. This was a rather odd read for me, in that I hated the premise – vigilantes are not my cup of tea – and yet found the storytelling compelling enough that I found myself racing through it. It's well written and the pacing is excellent. Wallace sits on the fence himself as to the rights and wrongs of it – he shows both sides, but doesn't take too strong a stance in favour of either. I believe in later books he chose cases that weren't quite so murky, where it was clearer that the victims of the Just Men deserved their fate, and I suspect I might prefer those. This one, however, despite having been published way back in 1905, has a surprisingly relevant plot. The purpose of the legislation is to prevent political agitators from using the safety of foreign countries to stir up revolutions back in their own nation. With my recent Russian Revolution reading, it made me think very much of those Russians, like Lenin, who spent their time in the safety of exile encouraging their countrymen back home to commit acts of terrorism against the state. But I also couldn't help thinking of the West's current moral struggle over the question of allowing in refugees at a time when the fear of terrorism is high, or the difficulty of expelling people even when it's known they are attempting to radicalise others. It's a quick read – somewhere between a long novella and a short novel. There is a mystery of sorts over how the Just Men plan to carry out the assassination. Martin Edwards tells us in his book The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books that, as an advertising ploy, Wallace offered cash prizes to readers who could work out the solution. Apparently, so many did that it nearly bankrupted him. I wish I'd been around at the time, because I thought it was blindingly obvious. I suspect, though, that might be because the key is more commonplace now than it would have been back then. Forgive the vagueness, but to say more would be a major spoiler. The rest of the plotting works much more effectively. There is a real sense of the building tension as the deadline approaches. The Foreign Secretary is not physically brave, but shows a good deal of moral courage in the end. The police are shown as competent and vigilant, good men determined to protect the Secretary even at the expense of their own lives, if necessary. The press get involved and we see their dilemma of being ordinary good people who don't want to see murder done but also journalists who do want a huge front page story! Wallace handles all these ethical questions well and believably, I thought. The Just Men themselves are more shadowy, with no real background given as to why they've set themselves up as judge and executioner or how they got together. I found them far less credible. But I was pulled along in the need to know whether the Secretary would survive. An intriguing read that provoked more thought than I was anticipating. I don't think I'm sufficiently enthusiastic to want to read more of the adventures of the Four Just Men, but overall I found this one interesting and entertaining enough to be glad to have read it, and to recognise its claim to be a classic of the genre. And, on that basis, recommended. www.fictionfanblog.wordpress.com

  2. 4 out of 5

    George K.

    Το "Οι Τέσσερις Δίκαιοι" είναι ένα από τα πρώτα και κλασικότερα θρίλερ της τρομερής Βρετανικής σχολής, το οποίο εκδόθηκε για πρώτη φορά πριν από εκατόν δώδεκα χρόνια (!), δηλαδή το 1905. Ναι, είναι τόσο παλιό. Στα ελληνικά έχουν κυκλοφορήσει κάμποσα βιβλία του Έντγκαρ Ουάλας, αλλά πολύ παλιά, από εκδόσεις Λυχνάρι, Άγκυρα, ΒΙΠΕΡ κ.α. Μιλάμε τώρα για δεκαετίες του '60 και του '70. Μπορεί και αυτό το βιβλίο να έχει κυκλοφορήσει παλιότερα, αλλά δεν έχει σημασία: Τώρα κυκλοφορεί σε όλα τα βιβλιοπωλεί Το "Οι Τέσσερις Δίκαιοι" είναι ένα από τα πρώτα και κλασικότερα θρίλερ της τρομερής Βρετανικής σχολής, το οποίο εκδόθηκε για πρώτη φορά πριν από εκατόν δώδεκα χρόνια (!), δηλαδή το 1905. Ναι, είναι τόσο παλιό. Στα ελληνικά έχουν κυκλοφορήσει κάμποσα βιβλία του Έντγκαρ Ουάλας, αλλά πολύ παλιά, από εκδόσεις Λυχνάρι, Άγκυρα, ΒΙΠΕΡ κ.α. Μιλάμε τώρα για δεκαετίες του '60 και του '70. Μπορεί και αυτό το βιβλίο να έχει κυκλοφορήσει παλιότερα, αλλά δεν έχει σημασία: Τώρα κυκλοφορεί σε όλα τα βιβλιοπωλεία, σε προσιτή τιμή και σε ιδιαίτερα προσεγμένη και καλαίσθητη έκδοση απ'όλες τις απόψεις (εξώφυλλο, χαρτί, μετάφραση). Στα της ιστορίας: Ο Υπουργός Εξωτερικών της Μεγάλης Βρετανίας ετοιμάζεται να καταθέσει προς ψήφιση ένα νομοσχέδιο για την απέλαση και την έκδοση αλλοδαπών που διώκονται στις χώρες τους για πολιτικά αδικήματα. Όμως δέχεται μια απειλητική επιστολή από μια μικρή ομάδα ανθρώπων, οι οποίοι αυτοαποκαλούνται ως "Οι Τέσσερις Δίκαιοι". Απαιτούν να αποσυρθεί το νομοσχέδιο, ειδάλλως θα τον εκτελέσουν. Μάλιστα, δεν έχουν πρόβλημα να αποκαλύψουν και τα χρονικά πλαίσια των επόμενων προειδοποιήσεων, καθώς και του τελικού χτυπήματος, σε περίπτωση που ο υπουργός δεν κάνει πίσω. Άλλωστε, έχουν σκοτώσει αρκετούς ανθρώπους που, με τον έναν ή τον άλλο τρόπο, έκαναν κακό και αδίκησαν αθώους ανθρώπους, χωρίς να τιμωρηθούν από τον νόμο - έτσι, έχουν την εμπειρία και το απαραίτητο θράσος. Σίγουρα είναι ένα βιβλίο που δείχνει τα χρόνια του. Και ίσως υπάρχουν βολικές ευκολίες για την εξέλιξη της πλοκής. Όμως, ανάθεμά το, διαβάζεται πολύ γρήγορα, ευχάριστα και με ενδιαφέρον από την αρχή μέχρι το δυνατό φινάλε. Προσφέρει λίγη δράση, μπόλικη αγωνία, μια-δυο εκπληξούλες, ενώ παράλληλα μας δίνεται και μια κατατοπιστική εικόνα του Λονδίνου στις αρχές του 20ου αιώνα και του τρόπου λειτουργίας των Αρχών. Οι χαρακτήρες δεν έχουν κάποιο ιδιαίτερο βάθος ούτε μπορεί να δεθεί ιδιαίτερα ο αναγνώστης με κάποιον εξ αυτών, όμως κάνουν την δουλειά τους. Η γραφή είναι παλαιάς κοπής, όμως σίγουρα ευχάριστη και άκρως ευκολοδιάβαστη. Γενικά πρόκειται για ένα πιο-κλασικό-πεθαίνεις αστυνομικό θρίλερ, ό,τι πρέπει για το καλοκαιράκι. Ανυπομονώ να μάθω ποια άλλα βιβλία θα κυκλοφορήσουν από την καινούργια σειρά ονόματι "Μαύρη Γάτα" των εκδόσεων Αλεξάνδρεια.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nick Duretta

    I can see why this was hot stuff in its day (around the turn of the 20th century) but it doesn't age well. Wallace was an incredibly prolific writer of thrillers, and this one introduced the venerable "locked room" mystery that was to become a staple of mysteries and thrillers for years. A man, targeted for murder at a specific time, locks himself in a room in which there is no other access. Yet he's murdered anyway--how? The explanation here is barely convincing and not very satisfactory. The w I can see why this was hot stuff in its day (around the turn of the 20th century) but it doesn't age well. Wallace was an incredibly prolific writer of thrillers, and this one introduced the venerable "locked room" mystery that was to become a staple of mysteries and thrillers for years. A man, targeted for murder at a specific time, locks himself in a room in which there is no other access. Yet he's murdered anyway--how? The explanation here is barely convincing and not very satisfactory. The writing is a bit florid, the characters mostly generic, but the depiction of early 1900s London makes this somewhat worthwhile.

  4. 5 out of 5

    DeAnna Knippling

    Fun, fast read. Four criminals swear to kill a man unless he does what they want. His honor demands that he shall not bend. But the criminals act only for the greater good... A nice crime story of a type that isn't often seen these days. I liked it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Phaney

    2012 Review: It was weird. I know, and distinctly recall the exact feeling, that I completely loved these men when I first read this long ago. I admired them and they were beyond cool and ingenious. I still think they’re ingenious. Thing is? I also think they are very probably in the wrong. They’re murderers, killers, and their only frame of reference is their own sense of justice and their conscience. They’re the original vigilantes. Now in the case of that raping priest one of them killed it’s a 2012 Review: It was weird. I know, and distinctly recall the exact feeling, that I completely loved these men when I first read this long ago. I admired them and they were beyond cool and ingenious. I still think they’re ingenious. Thing is? I also think they are very probably in the wrong. They’re murderers, killers, and their only frame of reference is their own sense of justice and their conscience. They’re the original vigilantes. Now in the case of that raping priest one of them killed it’s a pretty simple theory. If the law can’t touch a criminal, they are the ones who dispense justice. Some of the other cases cited were perhaps less black and white, but still. Evil people were killed by our three just men. But in this book? They set out to kill a minister so that he can’t pass a bill that would release political refugees to their original countries. Okay, put like that it seems at least moderately simple again. But it’s really not. Who’s in the right here? Who’s wrong? And how can those three be the ones to decide? At one point they even bring up that they’re doing God’s work, and, really, that sounds awfully like those nutcase psychopaths you get in fiction. That minister they kill? He believes he is doing the right thing. And shouldn’t a law be discussed by the governing body instead of being basically blackmailed and terrorized away? That it actually works is the weirdest thing of all, actually. But back to the question of what’s right. Our minister does not come across like a very nice man and his motives may not be the purest, but they are far from malicious either. He actually gives a very good speech before he dies, wherein he states that he believes in the justice of his cause, and the four believe theirs is the just cause. And that’s really the point of the matter. Yeah, that bill he is trying to force through (since it appears he has the assembly under his thumb) is not something I can agree with, but he does give some valid arguments. I like how he obviously understands the counter-arguments as well and acknowledges them in said speech. The thing is? Being against that bill (and thereby saving at least one country from dictatorship and famine, or so we’re assured) does not seem to justify murdering a person who stands up for what can be argued to be a valid position on a political subject. Someone who won’t let himself be blackmailed by terrorist threats, even as his death becomes more and more a certainty. Sure, I don’t like that minister. Who would? But I respect him. Manfred and his buddies? I dunno if I can respect them. The admiration I used to have for their skill and spirit has deflated. Completely. They’re… Well, I hope they will deal with clearer causes in the other books. Maybe this is just me growing up, or me applying realistic considerations to a story of mystery and sensation from a completely different time. But I’m sad my heroes are debunked. At the same time! It’s probably a very admirable thing to have their first book handle a matter that is, at least to modern eyes, not black and white and does not set them up as pure and infallible heroes. This story and they way it is told illuminates both sides of the argument and efforts and actually makes for a pretty deep conflict. As a reader it’s up to me which side I choose; even though it’s obvious where the author places his values. So yeah. Not what I expected. But intriguing for that very reason.

  6. 5 out of 5

    John

    Somehow, probably because of the 1959–60 TV series, I seem to have known about the concept of the Four Just Men all my life -- and I've even discussed on my Noirish site the 1939 movie based (very loosely) on Edgar Wallace's novel -- so it came as quite a surprise recently to realize that I'd never actually read the novel itself. The Four Just Men are essentially psychopaths, but they've channeled their psychopathy into the murdering only of people who are doing immeasurable harm to numbers of ot Somehow, probably because of the 1959–60 TV series, I seem to have known about the concept of the Four Just Men all my life -- and I've even discussed on my Noirish site the 1939 movie based (very loosely) on Edgar Wallace's novel -- so it came as quite a surprise recently to realize that I'd never actually read the novel itself. The Four Just Men are essentially psychopaths, but they've channeled their psychopathy into the murdering only of people who are doing immeasurable harm to numbers of others -- child molesters, tyrannical rulers, etc.: only bad guys, in other words In fact, at the outset of the novel there are three Just Men, one of their number having been fatally caught in a shootout; they have recruited as a fourth a more-common-or-garden serial killer who has a particular expertise that will be useful to them in their latest caper. That caper involves as its target Sir Philip Ramon, the UK's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who plans to put through Parliament a bill that would endanger those rebels against vile repression in Span currently sheltering in the UK. The Four Just Men give him warning after warning that they'll kill him if he persists with the bill, but of course he ignores them and . . . There's also a locked-room mystery here that must have seemed a heck of a sight more impressive when the book was first published (1905) than it does today. At the time it was the subject of a contest -- "guess the murder method" -- that Wallace ran in conjunction with the Daily Mail, where the book was serialized. So many people got the right answer that Wallace was bankrupted. This was Wallace's first novel and, having read a few of his later ones, I was very pleasantly surprised by it. The others I've read have had a sort of pleasing mediocrity to them -- rather like the entries in the long Edgar Wallace Mysteries series of B-movies that Merton Park Studios churned out in 1960-64 -- but this novel has a genuine wit that the others I've read lack. I chuckled several times at the humor, and felt a definite sense of suspense as the hours ticked down toward Sir Philip's deadline. This short novel is by no means a fine work, and its central premise is beyond reprehensible (who decides who're the bad guys who deserve to be murdered?), but it's certainly very well worth reading, not just as entertainment but to find out how the wordsmithing machine that Edgar Wallace became got started. Wallace wrote five further Just Men books. While reading this one, it struck me that someone ought to continue/recreate the series for a 21st-century readership. I'm here if you want me, Edgar Wallace Estate.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Marley

    Certainly not the best or best written mystery ever published, but such a fun read! I don't know if Wallace intended to, but he certainly skewered MPs, which is part of the fun. Not surprisingly, he's got anarchists wrong (the Four Just Men argue they aren't anarchists, and they're not), but reflects the fear of anarchists fueled by the press and ppoliticians--not to mention the acts of whacks who thought themselves anarchists or agent provocateurs--in the late 19th early 29 century. As an histo Certainly not the best or best written mystery ever published, but such a fun read! I don't know if Wallace intended to, but he certainly skewered MPs, which is part of the fun. Not surprisingly, he's got anarchists wrong (the Four Just Men argue they aren't anarchists, and they're not), but reflects the fear of anarchists fueled by the press and ppoliticians--not to mention the acts of whacks who thought themselves anarchists or agent provocateurs--in the late 19th early 29 century. As an historical entity, it's well worth the read. I'll get around to reading the rest of the series. And as other reviewers have noted the Four Just Men dole out dole out justice to the most deserving.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

    In essence a detective story in which the motive for the crime, the threat of the crime and the police's attempt to thwart the crime take centre stage. The crime itself takes place towards the end. At no point is it obvious how the criminals (The Four Just Men of the title) could succeed. Not the greatest detective story and, perhaps one which could have been handled more engagingly as a short story. This is because the characterisation is minimal, nobody seems to stand out and they are all very In essence a detective story in which the motive for the crime, the threat of the crime and the police's attempt to thwart the crime take centre stage. The crime itself takes place towards the end. At no point is it obvious how the criminals (The Four Just Men of the title) could succeed. Not the greatest detective story and, perhaps one which could have been handled more engagingly as a short story. This is because the characterisation is minimal, nobody seems to stand out and they are all very one-dimensional. This is unsurprising, given that the criminal plot is centre stage, but makes for a slightly dull read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Vishwas

    This short and taut thriller is one of the best you will ever read in the crime genre. A story of four vigilante men, it makes for great reading and is definitely the perfect book for a boring afternoon!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    In my quest this year to always have one classic novel going, I decided to start with this author I never heard of, an early 20th century Brit who specialized in journalism and the Victorian/Edwardian version of thrillers. "Four Just Men" was the start of a series about a determined band of European vigilantes who decide to kill off people in the world whom the law cannot punish. In this debut, their target is none other than the foreign secretary of Great Britain, who is pushing through a bill t In my quest this year to always have one classic novel going, I decided to start with this author I never heard of, an early 20th century Brit who specialized in journalism and the Victorian/Edwardian version of thrillers. "Four Just Men" was the start of a series about a determined band of European vigilantes who decide to kill off people in the world whom the law cannot punish. In this debut, their target is none other than the foreign secretary of Great Britain, who is pushing through a bill that would deport a Spanish champion of freedom and subject him to certain imprisonment or death. The trick of these books is getting you to like these cultured assassins and buy into the nobility of their otherwise illegal and unethical actions. The rest is the same kind of dabbling in new science that Conan Doyle had Holmes carry out. In this case, of course, the entire force of the Metropolitan Police is arrayed against the four gentlemen, who not only make their threats public but give specific dates on which they will issue other warnings and carry out their killing. The foreign secretary is petrified by this threat, but is also so convinced of his propriety that he will not give in. And police officials throw everything they have into protecting him. Will the Four be able to pull this one off, especially after their newest recruit tries to turn himself in? And what happens when a pickpocket gets involved late in the game? And what methods will they use to commit the righteous crime? It all gets resolved satisfactorily in this quick read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    S Dizzy

    This was a very intense story especially given when it was written. It has certainly stood the test of time and could be classified today as a thriller. Having said that, I was stunned by the arrogance of the vigilantes. I think this sentence sums it up for me "Here are men arrogating to themselves the divine right of superior judgment."

  12. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    I enjoyed this book much more than I expected. I knew nothing about it other than it's on my list of top mysteries to read. Turns out it is terrific satire that is surprisingly (and depressingly) very applicable to the current state of human affairs.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura Rittenhouse

    A mystery that is the opposite of a who-done-it. From the beginning you are introduced to the 4 just men and learn of their desire to kill a prominent politician in England if he doesn't meet their demand. The demand is simple, do not table a bill that will allow the extradition of political activists. Not only is the reader told of their intention, the politician, police, newspapers and entire British population know as well (and a good portion of the rest of the world). The mystery is around ho A mystery that is the opposite of a who-done-it. From the beginning you are introduced to the 4 just men and learn of their desire to kill a prominent politician in England if he doesn't meet their demand. The demand is simple, do not table a bill that will allow the extradition of political activists. Not only is the reader told of their intention, the politician, police, newspapers and entire British population know as well (and a good portion of the rest of the world). The mystery is around how the 4 men will kill the politician and whether or not the police can stop them. Great story, interesting concept, well told, good read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sammy

    Not really worth it. A dimestore novel, but it's outlived its usefulness. Too many characters, and a plot which is promoted as "one of the great puzzles of crime fiction" but really hangs entirely on contrivance. Points, though, for some of the unexpected deviations - the story of Billy Marks is affectingly handled - and for its surprising timeliness: a story about well-meaning activists who become terrorists in their bid to stop an illegal immigration bill planned by self-righteous-but-decent p Not really worth it. A dimestore novel, but it's outlived its usefulness. Too many characters, and a plot which is promoted as "one of the great puzzles of crime fiction" but really hangs entirely on contrivance. Points, though, for some of the unexpected deviations - the story of Billy Marks is affectingly handled - and for its surprising timeliness: a story about well-meaning activists who become terrorists in their bid to stop an illegal immigration bill planned by self-righteous-but-decent politicians. Interesting, but unworthy.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Neil

    There can't be many authors who have a best seller that bankrupts them but Wallace managed it with this book, the story of how he did is every bit as entertaining as anything he wrote and is well worth investigating, anyway back to the book. A short book, a novella really, how four criminals pull off a remarkable crime under the police-force's nose. This isn't a book of hero's and villains, there's no Sherlock Holmes to solve the crime and the four men themselves are shadowy figures, it's just t There can't be many authors who have a best seller that bankrupts them but Wallace managed it with this book, the story of how he did is every bit as entertaining as anything he wrote and is well worth investigating, anyway back to the book. A short book, a novella really, how four criminals pull off a remarkable crime under the police-force's nose. This isn't a book of hero's and villains, there's no Sherlock Holmes to solve the crime and the four men themselves are shadowy figures, it's just to see how the crime is committed that builds up the tension.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Filip Đukić

    Vrlo zanimljiv krimić, u maloj mjeri fantastičnog karaktera - bez klasičnog dominantnog inspektora koji na kraju hvata ubojice. Zapravo policija ni ne zna tko su ubojice ministra koji je trebao donijeti zakon koji se nije svidio ljudima od pravde - u originalu 3 ojca jer je 4. prikrpan i kasnije ubijen. Ono sitno što sam do sada pročitao od krimića (Nesbo, Larsson) imalo je nekakav kalup da su inspektori bili uvijek u središtu zbivanja; dok je ovdje radnja ravnomjerno raspoređena na sve likove. Vrlo zanimljiv krimić, u maloj mjeri fantastičnog karaktera - bez klasičnog dominantnog inspektora koji na kraju hvata ubojice. Zapravo policija ni ne zna tko su ubojice ministra koji je trebao donijeti zakon koji se nije svidio ljudima od pravde - u originalu 3 ojca jer je 4. prikrpan i kasnije ubijen. Ono sitno što sam do sada pročitao od krimića (Nesbo, Larsson) imalo je nekakav kalup da su inspektori bili uvijek u središtu zbivanja; dok je ovdje radnja ravnomjerno raspoređena na sve likove. Nisam ljubitelj krim romana, ali za ovakav žanr jako dobro djelo.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bill Fletcher

    Cold and rainy night, power went out in the house and this was the perfect book to snuggle up with on my Kindle. Okay, you can't exactly snuggle up with a Kindle the way you can with an actual book, but it sure beats trying to read by candlelight. Definitely an old-fashioned writing style and kind of a poor-man's Chesterton, but a very fast read and interesting enough that I'll read more of his stuff, especially if the lights go out again!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    This was more interesting for the story of the story -- Edgar Wallace's life and the bankrupting contest he sponsored for the book -- than for the story itself. However, that story was interesting, a Sherlock Holmes story without a memorable Holmes but with the same atmosphere, and a bit more suspense. It's also very short, so I found it well worth the time to read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    David Macpherson

    This is a strange old book. The heroes are rich folk who are planning on killing a government official because he is about to introduce a piece of legislation into Parliament they are against. It is clever and has some nice detail and it moves, but the sense of moral vertigo kind of threw me, it was an odd reading experience.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Penny

    Ok read but wouldn't classify it as one of the crime books of the 20th century

  21. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    Interesting twist to the mystery format - the book starts with the "4 just men" (vigilantes) planning the death of English minister Ramon and the murder doesn't occur until almost the very end.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Miika Hannila

    An astonishingly well written and timeless classic. Wallace has the ability to describe place and time vividly and without lengthening the novel unnecessarily.

  23. 5 out of 5

    R.V. Raman

    A milestone in crime fiction.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Klemens

    Read this some years ago and really liked it. I need to re-read it because I'll probably get more of the subtle hints he gives since my english wasn't as good back then.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    Most enjoyable! A backwards murder mystery, where you're rooting for the murderers. A fun thriller with a touch of the Wodehouse about it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Edith

    Edgar Wallace was a great storyteller - he wrote "King Kong" for heaven's sake! This story is a real pleasure to read - about a vigilante group on the trail of a bomber in London.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tbfrank

    Wallace introduces a cast of characters who appear in a series of novels about a group of men dedicated to punishing individuals who, despite their crimes, have not been brought to justice by legal means. Characterization is spotty throughout and Wallace's policemen are bested by the more intelligent and inventive vigilantes. The object of the "Just Men" in this novel is to cause the withdrawal of the Alien Extradition (Political Offences) Bill by threatening the sponsor, England's Foreign Secret Wallace introduces a cast of characters who appear in a series of novels about a group of men dedicated to punishing individuals who, despite their crimes, have not been brought to justice by legal means. Characterization is spotty throughout and Wallace's policemen are bested by the more intelligent and inventive vigilantes. The object of the "Just Men" in this novel is to cause the withdrawal of the Alien Extradition (Political Offences) Bill by threatening the sponsor, England's Foreign Secretary. In their view, the passage of the bill will cause the deportation of men who are patriots in their own lands, returning them to be arrested, tried, and executed by tyrants. Hardly a crime like those they've avenged previously, but rather a moral question. Similar dilemas are readily identified today. In an age when anarchism flourished, their methods were not wholly outrageous. As a locked room murder mystery, Wallace marrys two of the eras most recent inventions, electricity and the telephone in his solution. While wordy and stylistically dated, the details of the plot are well thought out.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Arthur Pierce

    There are portions of this book that are gripping, and other spots that are quite tedious. Wallace is not a great writer by any standards (at the beginning of part 2 he finds it necessary to spell out to the reader that they should sympathize with the title characters) and I'm sure it bothered him not a bit when readers pointed out that much of the incident of his books strained the credibility. There is no doubt that this sort of thing influenced the comic book super hero genre for years afterw There are portions of this book that are gripping, and other spots that are quite tedious. Wallace is not a great writer by any standards (at the beginning of part 2 he finds it necessary to spell out to the reader that they should sympathize with the title characters) and I'm sure it bothered him not a bit when readers pointed out that much of the incident of his books strained the credibility. There is no doubt that this sort of thing influenced the comic book super hero genre for years afterwards (onto the present day, for that matter) and, as such, a certain amount of historical importance can be attached to it. If I could, I would give this book two-and-a-half stars, as I found it to be neither consistently compelling nor a complete waste of time.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gregg Narber

    Early 20th century British mystery. The Four Just Men are basically vigilantes who assure the punishment (death) of evildoers who would otherwise "get away with it". Their ingenuity and ability to keep several steps ahead of those who would thwart them, including police, are the essence of the plot. Interesting enough (and quick) read though not one which tempts me to pursue what is apparently a series about these men and their doings by Edgar Wallace. Another recent experience with British myst Early 20th century British mystery. The Four Just Men are basically vigilantes who assure the punishment (death) of evildoers who would otherwise "get away with it". Their ingenuity and ability to keep several steps ahead of those who would thwart them, including police, are the essence of the plot. Interesting enough (and quick) read though not one which tempts me to pursue what is apparently a series about these men and their doings by Edgar Wallace. Another recent experience with British mystery writers led me to expect better writing; though there was nothing really wrong with it, the plot elements, not the writing describes the book's merit.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mike Windbigler

    It was an okay story. A traditional who done it mystery. I wish the author would have spent more time with the 4 Just Men though. I know he couldn't spend a bunch of page count in there company, otherwise it wouldn't have been much of a mystery, but would have liked to have known them better. I actually listened to the audio book at work and with that comes distractions that probably took away from the story. I will say it sparked my interest to read Agatha Christie again.

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