The Grand Babylon Hotel
Situated discreetly down a side street on the Embankment of London, the Grand Babylon is an exclusive establishment that caters to the wealthy and titled. It is ruled by the three gods - " Jules, the headwaiter, Miss Spencer, the bureau clerk, and, most powerful of all, Rocco, the renowned chef " - and if there is one type of guest they completely abhor it is rich Americans.
When multi-millionaire American , Theodore Racksole and his daughter , Nella, come to stay the sparks begin to fly. It is Nella's birthday and she requests a filleted steak and a bottle of Bass for dinner, an order that Jules and Rocco take great pleasure in refusing. To solve the problem Theodore promptly buys the hotel but soon after strange things start happening. A German prince fails to arrive, Miss Spencer disappears, a young man attached to the prince is found dead........and the body also disappears. With the help of a nephew of the prince, Theodore and Nella set out to solve the mysteries.
What follows is a good old-fashioned detective adventure with a touch of romance thrown in . Highly improbable scenarios, nasty villains, kidnappings, secret passages with spyholes and lots of danger and lucky escapes make very entertaining and amusing reading.
Considering it was written and first published, in serial form, in 1902 I was impressed with Arnold Bennett's heroine. Nella is no timid Edwardian mouse , and although indulged and spoilt by her father, is a very independent and straight talking young woman who has no qualms about setting off alone in search of clues and waving a revolver in the faces of suspects.
Fun! I enjoyed it!