Short Notes: Dark Lady by J.J. Farjeon (1938)

Lena Dale returns home arguing with her husband Henry. As their quarrel turns more ugly, Lena retires to her room. But soon she is back again in the drawing room where her husband lies dead in a pool of blood. A shocked Lena is still more shocked when a masked man emerges from the library. Somehow Lena is convinced he couldn’t have murdered her husband. She asks him to escape while she rushes outside to call the police. At the gate, she encounters another man. Even as she asks him to call a policeman, Lena loses her consciousness. When she awakens, she finds herself a prisoner in a curious house, presided over by Dr. William Hendrick (reminding one of Count Fosco of The Woman in White). She also finds that her hair has turned from golden to black.

This was a boring book in which the constant to & fro between Black Cat and Uncle Hugh soon becomes very irritating. It does seem to me that perhaps Farjeon is not for me. Except for his Mystery in White, I have not really enjoyed his books. I have his Seven Dead and a few more on my TBR but I am not feeling any great desire to read them.


First Line: The taxi drew up at the third house beyond the lamp post.

First Published: 1938

Other books read of the same author: (Among others) The Oval Table

6 thoughts on “Short Notes: Dark Lady by J.J. Farjeon (1938)

  1. That’s the thing, isn’t it, Neeru. If the dialogue isn’t interesting, and the characters are not engaging, it’s hard to be drawn into the story. Sorry to hear that this one didn’t work for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve only read one of his books, Thirteen Guests, and it was OK but not enough to make me rush off to seek out more. Sounds like I made the right choice! Still, think of the drop in your TBR… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think boring dialogue is a trademark of Farjeon, but I’d suggest you try MYSTERY IN WHITE before you give up on him, if you haven’t already. Quite a few people like that one, including me, but I kind of think he peaked with that one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Steve, as I wrote in the post above, the only book of his that I have really enjoyed is Mystery in White. The others have been middling or just plain boring.


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