If you’re a fan of mystery novels, you might have heard of R. Austin Freeman, the author of the Dr. Thorndyke series. Freeman was a pioneer of the scientific approach to crime solving, using forensic evidence and logical deduction to crack the most baffling cases.
One of his most famous novels is The Eye of Osiris, published in 1911. It’s the third book in the Dr. Thorndyke series, but it can be read as a standalone story. It’s also one of the first examples of the “locked room” mystery, where a crime seems impossible to commit or solve.
The Eye of Osiris is a fascinating tale of a missing archaeologist, a mysterious Egyptian artifact, and a complex inheritance dispute. It’s full of twists and turns, clues and red herrings, and a surprising solution that will keep you guessing until the end.
In this article, we’ll give you a summary of the plot, introduce you to the main characters, and discuss some of the themes and messages that Freeman wanted to convey through his novel. We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions about The Eye of Osiris and its author.
So, if you’re ready to dive into this classic mystery novel, let’s get started!
The story begins with the disappearance of John Bellingham, a world-renowned archaeologist who has just returned from Egypt with some valuable treasures. He visits his cousin Godfrey Bellingham at his home in Woodford, but he never leaves the house. No one knows what happened to him or where he went.
Two years later, his brother Hurst Bellingham hires Dr. Thorndyke to investigate the case. Hurst wants to claim John’s estate, which is worth a fortune, but he needs proof that John is dead. However, there are other parties who are interested in John’s inheritance, such as his niece Ruth Bellingham and her fiancé Paul Berkeley.
Dr. Thorndyke agrees to take on the case, but he soon realizes that it’s not as simple as it seems. He discovers that John Bellingham had a secret life, involving a mysterious woman named Hilda Wade and a shady lawyer named Jellicoe. He also finds out that John Bellingham had a rare Egyptian amulet called The Eye of Osiris, which has a strange history and a powerful symbolism.
As Dr. Thorndyke follows the trail of clues, he encounters several obstacles and dangers. He has to deal with a rival detective named Mr. Marchmont, who is working for Hurst Bellingham and tries to sabotage his investigation. He also has to face a ruthless killer who is willing to murder anyone who gets in his way.
Will Dr. Thorndyke be able to solve the mystery of John Bellingham’s disappearance? What is the secret behind The Eye of Osiris? And who will inherit John Bellingham’s fortune?
To find out the answers, you’ll have to read The Eye of Osiris by R. Austin Freeman!
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The Eye of Osiris has a large cast of characters, each with their own personality and role in the story. Here are some of the main ones:
- Dr. John Thorndyke: The protagonist and narrator of the novel. He is a medico-legal expert who uses scientific methods and logical reasoning to solve crimes. He is calm, intelligent, and observant.
- John Evelyn Bellingham: The missing archaeologist whose fate is the central mystery of the novel. He is a wealthy and respected scholar who has made many discoveries in Egypt. He is also secretive and eccentric.
- Hurst Bellingham: John’s brother and rival for his inheritance. He is a greedy and unscrupulous man who hires Dr. Thorndyke to prove John’s death.
- Godfrey Bellingham: John’s cousin and host on the night he disappeared. He is a kind and gentle man who lives with his daughter Ruth in Woodford.
- Ruth Bellingham: John’s niece and Godfrey’s daughter. She is a beautiful and intelligent young woman who is engaged to Paul Berkeley.
- Paul Berkeley: Ruth’s fiancé and Dr. Thorndyke’s assistant in the investigation. He is a medical student who becomes fascinated by Dr. Thorndyke’s methods and helps him with his experiments and inquiries.
- Mr. Jellicoe: John Bellingham’s lawyer and executor of his will. He is a mysterious and secretive man who knows more than he reveals.
- Hilda Wade: John Bellingham’s companion and confidante. She is a mysterious and beautiful woman who has a close relationship with John Bellingham and The Eye of Osiris.
- Mr. Marchmont: A private detective who is hired by Hurst Bellingham to oppose Dr. Thorndyke. He is a cunning and unscrupulous man who tries to discredit Dr. Thorndyke and steal his evidence.
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The Eye of Osiris is not just a thrilling mystery novel, but also a work of literature that explores some interesting themes and ideas. Here are some of them:
- Science vs. superstition: One of the main themes of the novel is the contrast between science and superstition, or rationality and irrationality. Dr. Thorndyke represents the scientific approach to crime solving, using facts, logic, and evidence to reach the truth. On the other hand, The Eye of Osiris represents the superstitious aspect of the story, involving ancient myths, curses, and magic. The novel shows how science can overcome superstition, but also how superstition can influence human behavior and emotions.
- Justice vs. injustice: Another theme of the novel is the conflict between justice and injustice, or right and wrong. Dr. Thorndyke is motivated by a sense of justice, seeking to find the truth and expose the guilty. However, he faces many obstacles and challenges from those who want to prevent justice from being done, such as Hurst Bellingham, Mr. Marchmont, and the killer. The novel shows how justice can prevail over injustice, but also how injustice can cause suffering and tragedy.
- Love vs. hate: A third theme of the novel is the contrast between love and hate, or affection and animosity. The novel features several characters who are driven by love or hate, such as Ruth Bellingham, Paul Berkeley, Hilda Wade, and the killer. The novel shows how love can inspire courage and loyalty, but also how hate can lead to violence and revenge.
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Here are some frequently asked questions about The Eye of Osiris by R. Austin Freeman:
- Q: Is The Eye of Osiris based on a true story?
- A: No, The Eye of Osiris is a fictional story that was inspired by Freeman’s own medical and scientific knowledge and his interest in archaeology and Egyptology.
- Q: Is The Eye of Osiris a good book for beginners?
- A: Yes, The Eye of Osiris is a good book for beginners who want to read a classic mystery novel that is easy to follow and understand. The language is simple and clear, the plot is well-structured and engaging, and the characters are memorable and relatable.
- Q: Who is R. Austin Freeman?
- A: R. Austin Freeman was a British writer who lived from 1862 to 1943. He was a physician and surgeon who served in Africa and in World War I. He was also a pioneer of the scientific detective genre, creating the character of Dr. Thorndyke, who appeared in more than 40 novels and short stories.
The Eye of Osiris by R. Austin Freeman is a classic mystery novel that will appeal to fans of Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, and other masters of the genre. It’s a captivating story that combines science, history, and suspense in a clever and original way.
If you’re looking for a book that will challenge your mind, entertain your imagination, and keep you on the edge of your seat, you should definitely read The Eye of Osiris by R. Austin Freeman!