I don't penalize eras out of my time. "The Man In Lower Ten" was current once and low enjoyment doesn't mean work isn't good. One needn't like a protagonist if a story is captivating and setting doesn't matter, if protagonist or writing fascinates us. Even at a 103 year stretch from where I stand, I like extinct language. I can also relate to male protagonists but Mary Roberts Rinehart did not acquaint us with hers and I was not fond of Lawrence Blakely. I found nothing in common with two bachelor lawyers from 1909 and the reader is told nothing about 'the Bronson case', direly dependent on court papers that get stolen. Readers can only accept their import in a story that introduced no character or plot.
We're left with banter between chums that is meaningless and Lawrence's business trip is dry. We hope he's cleared of a train murder but never connect with him. Scenes at his home do not enhance a private portrait. He is appallingly juvenile towards his maid, discarding food she provides to heal an accident and running past her insolently, after she prepared a package for his trip. Reversely, he thought it courteous to sleep at a hotel instead of waking his house whenever he returned past midnight! Scolding that he seldom ate at home, lacking access to his own locked kitchen at night; I plainly found stupid.
The few tender moments that could dazzle readers, were interrupted by inane attempts at levity. Also prohibiting absorption were things I detest; use of "have got" and whistling, occurring unbearably. I couldn't close the novel fast enough, although it did grow interesting. I can praise intricate clues and complicated circumstances; crowning achievements in mysteries of the day. Today's authors can afford to hone the craft of plotting.