The story takes place at the end of the nineteenth century at the World’s Fair in Chicago. Carl Masters is one of a legion of secret service men – employed to keep the multitudes safe, and be on the watch for the Criminal gangs drawn to the fair. As soon as he arrives Masters is drawn into the first of several mysteries – which eventually weave together. At the heart of the story is June Jenrys, who appears to have been targeted by a strange young woman – but for what purpose? She and her Quaker aunt are befriended by Masters as he sets about discovering the truth about the small brunette who keeps throwing herself in Miss Jenrys’s way. There is also a Jewel robbery, some counterfeiting, a kidnapping and a disappearance for Masters to sink his teeth in.
Set against the back drop of the world’s fair this is readable little novel in the tradition of those old fashioned story tellers such as Conan Doyle although I don’t claim it is as good as that. I did find it took me a little time to get into this one – and that may have been because of this unusual setting. I realised I knew nothing about The World’s Fair – although I had heard of it. I could conjure up no mental images – and so struggled at first to “picture” the events and the places – in fact I don’t know if I ever really got over that. I googled for images to help me - as my mind had the characters floating about in white space as I couldn’t conjure up the right kind of setting. The fair was quite obviously massive – and simply teemed with thousands of people and so it amused me to see how often Masters managed to bump into people just at the right time. All in all however this was a diverting and rather enjoyable read, and I may well download more by this author one of these days.