The Face and the Mask BY Robert Barr
is a collection of short stories written by the Scottish-Canadian author Robert Barr, originally published in 1894. The book contains 20 stories, each with a unique plot and characters that showcase Barr’s talent for suspenseful storytelling.
The stories in “The Face and the Mask” are mostly set in the late 19th century, with some taking place in Europe and others in North America. They often feature characters who are faced with unexpected circumstances or who find themselves in morally ambiguous situations. The stories explore themes such as the nature of identity, the consequences of deceit, and the power of appearances.
One of the most memorable stories in the collection is “The Count’s Apology.” In this story, the main character, Count von Rudloff, finds himself in a difficult position when he is caught stealing a valuable diamond from a jewelry store. He is forced to apologize to the store owner and return the diamond, but the real twist comes at the end when it is revealed that the count had a secret motive for stealing the diamond that was not immediately apparent.
Another notable story is “The Hour and the Man,” which tells the story of a young lawyer named Goring who becomes embroiled in a complicated legal case involving an alleged murder. The story is full of twists and turns, and the reader is left guessing until the very end as to the true identity of the killer.
In “The Councillor’s Wife,” Barr explores the theme of appearances versus reality as the wife of a respected town councillor is revealed to have a scandalous past. The story is a cautionary tale about the dangers of judging people based on their outward appearance or reputation.
Other stories in the collection include “The Dualitists,” in which two men fight a duel over a woman’s honor; “The Ghost with the Club-foot,” a chilling ghost story set in a Scottish castle; and “The Mystery of the Five Hundred Diamonds,” a story about a group of thieves who steal a valuable necklace.
Overall, “The Face and the Mask” is a captivating collection of short stories that demonstrate Robert Barr’s skill as a writer. The stories are varied in their subject matter and tone, ranging from lighthearted to suspenseful to downright eerie. Fans of classic mystery and suspense fiction are sure to enjoy this book.
Robert Barr was a prolific author in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1849 and immigrated to Canada in 1881. In addition to his career as a writer, he was also a journalist and editor, working for newspapers such as The Detroit Free Press and The Toronto Globe.
Barr’s writing style is often characterized as straightforward and easy to read, with a focus on plot and character development. His stories often feature unexpected twists and turns, and he was known for his ability to keep the reader guessing until the very end. He was influenced by the works of Edgar Allan Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and his stories often feature elements of mystery and suspense.
In addition to “The Face and the Mask,” Barr wrote numerous other works of fiction, including novels and short story collections. Some of his other notable works include “In a Steamer Chair and Other Shipboard Stories,” “From Whose Bourne,” and “The Triumphs of Eugene Valmont.” Many of his stories were originally published in popular magazines of the time, such as The Strand Magazine and Harper’s Weekly.
Barr was also known for his interest in social and political issues, and he used his writing to comment on topics such as labor rights, women’s suffrage, and the impact of technology on society. He was a member of several literary and social clubs, including the Royal Society of Canada and the Savage Club in London.
Today, Robert Barr is remembered as a significant figure in the development of the detective and mystery genres. His stories continue to be enjoyed by readers around the world, and “The Face and the Mask” remains a classic work of suspense fiction.