Henry Christopher Bailey (1878-1961) was an English author best known for his detective fiction featuring Reggie Fortune (a kind of Lord Peter Wimsey character but involved in darker stories) and later, Josiah Clunk. He also wrote a number of historical novels and 'The Highwayman', published in 1917, is one of them.
Bailey studied classics at Oxford, graduating in 1901. He wrote editorials and was drama critic for the Daily Telegraph for forty-five years, as well as a war correspondent, before retiring to Llanfairfechan in North Wales in the 1950s. He was celebrated during his lifetime as one of the great writers of the golden age of the detective novel but is largely forgotten now. I think he deserves better treatment.
'The Highwayman' is a lively, entertaining novel set just before the Georgian era. Its hero is Harry Boyce, an intelligent young man with a good deal of personality but hampered by poverty and the fact that he is the illegitimate son of an adventurer and scamp who exists only just on the right side of the law - and not always that. Harry happens upon a highway robbery and with languid resourcefulness rescues Alison Lambourne and her servant from the robber. Mystifyingly, he sees a hastening group of horsemen and glimpses the old Duke of Marlborough in the same area. Harry has not seen his errant father for years, but Captain Boyce re-enters his life and charms his son's aristocratic employer, Mr Waverton and his pompous mother. It is a while before Harry realises what his father is plotting...
This book shows pretty authentic knowledge of the early part of the eighteenth century. The style and rhythm of the writing is both charming and amusing, reminding me of the writings of Georgette Heyer, though the subject matter is darker and more violent. Central to the book is the kind of love story which would have pleased her, I think, being witty and full of both intense attraction and conflict. The lovers mature and learn about themselves during the course of the novel. There's quite a lot of naughtiness in the book (described with restraint) and quite a bit of downright evil, but there is also moral development. The characters are very well imagined and (on the whole) believable, the plot moves along entertainingly and the dialogue is witty. I really enjoyed this book, finding it both amusing and educational - it provoked me to read a bit about the period afterwards. The story is linked with real historical events and presents a fascinating picture of the way that people lived at that time. I will be reading more of this author's books.
on 3 August 2015
almost too exciting...i think georgette heyer read this....lovely, complicated, intricate, well-written, fairly emotional, and leaves an impression
on 4 May 2016
Well I chose this ratting because,it had a lack of enthusiasm and highly punctuated sentences and it just seems abit boring .if you do another book please may you make it a tiny bit shorter because,it took me well over 4years!
I wouldn't recommend this book to......