Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Firefly of France  -  1918
Marion Polk Angellotti
166 pages
genre  -  Adventure
my rating  -  4 out of 5 stars

This wonderful story was published in 6 editions of the Saturday Evening Post beginning Jan.12, 1918 as a serial novel.  The author dedicates her book to the memory of the heroic Georges Guynemer, 'The Ace of the Aces'. (see picture)  A movie was made based on this book starring Wallace Reid, Ann Little and Raymond Hatton.  It would be interesting to see if the movie closely follows the book.

The tale is about a 30-year-old man, Devereux Bayne, who is staying at a hotel in New York City. He will be leaving for Bordeaux the next morning. He plans on helping France in their war with the Germans by driving an ambulance. Mr. Bayne quickly gets caught up in some mysterious circumstances with a burglar, a beautiful young lady, smuggled papers in code and a menacing stranger.

I love the line in the book when Mr. Bayne sees the beautiful young lady, Esme Falconer, for the first time. He thinks to himself, "Well, all clouds have silver linings; some have golden ones with rainbow edges."

The Firefly of France reminds me of John Buchan's The 39 Steps. Both protagonists are pulled into events innocently, but manage to triumph against the odds. Ms. Angellotti certainly manages to tell a fantastic story.

About the author  -

Marion Polk Angellotti was born Nov. 12, 1887 in California.  She was the daughter of Frank Marion Angellotti and Emma Cornelia Clearey Angellotti.  Mr. Angellotti was a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California from 1915 - 1921.  Marion made her debut into society at the age of 18, at a party at their home in her honor.

In 1911, Marion published her first book, Sir John Hawkwood, based on an English mercenary who was active in 14th century Italy.  There are 8 more stories about the same character published in Adventure magazine.  Her last book as Three Black Bags published in 1922.



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