Childers' The Riddle of the Sands
1903, Erskine Childers did something profound: he
wrote the world’s first great seagoing spy
thriller. But The Riddle of the Sands opens
so quietly that a reader might think that Childers
himself didn’t know what he was creating.
Greene's The Ministry of Fear
in 1943 and set in the bomb-pocked London of World
War Two, The Ministry of Fear manages to
present an engagingly fast, light plot whose initial
enticement and final resolution entertain the reader
without troubling him too much with the story’s
admittedly dire setting.
Greene slips in a few of his usual bleak sketches
of a world that is on the verge of revealing itself
as meaningless, but it’s just enough to remind
the reader that while he’s reading an entertainment,
it’s still one written by a fine, intelligent
Hammett's The Maltese Falcon
Sure, the novel offers a
handful of murders to solve, but the real interest
lies in the enigmatic title figure: what, precisely,
is the Maltese Falcon, and who has it?
Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea
The path that led
Jean Rhys to write the masterly Wide Sargasso
Sea after decades of literary silence is
unlikely, to put it mildly, and it deserves a
novel in itself.
Hardy's Under the Greenwood Tree
the context of acknowledged classics like Jude
the Obscure and Tess of the D’Urbervilles,
Thomas Hardy’s Under the Greenwood Tree
is a relatively small, quiet achievement.