"Mademoiselle of Monte Carlo" is a period piece that takes the reader on a tour of Europe c. 1920. William Le Queux starts us off in Monte Carlo, the Mediterranean resort then beloved of the English upper classes. E. Phillips Oppenheim, Le Queux's contemporary, captures the essence of Monaco more faithfully, but Le Queux does a reasonable job of persuading us that we are at the tables of the Casino along with Hugh Henfrey, a young Englishman who was travelled to the Principality to discover what a well-known gambler, Mademoiselle Ferad, knows about his father's suspicious death.
Just as Hugh is making some progress, both in his investigation and his romance with the lovely Dorise Ranscomb, Yvonne Ferad is gunned down while Hugh is interrogating her. The obvious suspect, Hugh finds himself on the run from the police, aided by a mysterious international criminal known as the Sparrow, whose network of criminals abets Hugh to elude the law. While Mademoiselle lies at death's door, we travel from Italy to Belgium to England, meeting various criminals and gradually discovering why they are taking such an interest in our young hero.
This is a thriller very much of its time and place, with copious use of coincidence to unravel the plot tangles and characters that are not particularly deeply drawn. The most original figure is that of the Sparrow himself, a gentlemanly crook leading a double life. But there are some vivid sketches of European life and the scenes move quickly. If the writing is not particularly elegant prose, it is quite literate. In the mood for a little light reading? This book will pass a few hours pleasantly.