Of the nine 1930 bestselling novels I’ve found, none is a great novel, but several are definitely worth reading. (I’m still looking for Years of Grace by Margaret Ayers Barnes, which won a Pulitzer in 1931.)
Bromfield, who has a knack for turning ho-hum plots into gee-whiz ones, turns his hand to a murder mystery compressed into one day. Nothing about the plot or the characters of Twenty-Four Hours standard-issue.
J. B. Priestley’s novel is also about a crime, but in this case it’s a white-collar crime with a half-dozen victims. Readers know from the start who-done-it and why (it’s the money). The interest is in seeing how the staff of victimized business respond.
Not far behind these two are Cimarron by Edna Ferber, Exile by Warwick Deeping and The Door by Mary Roberts Rinehart. These novels are more predictable in their plotting, but with just enough individuality to keep them from being dull.
© 2010 Linda Gorton Aragoni