The Panama Plot Arthur B. Reeve Paperback: 208 pages Language: English ISBN-10: 1596546859 ISBN-13: 978-1596546851
Original publication date: 1918
The Panama Plot starts out with six tales set in Latin America, followed by four US laid tales. The Latin American stories have some common features. All have detailed Backgrounds, dealing with life in the countries they are set. Several deal with shipping. The murders in the story are almost all poisoning cases. Reeve takes a double point of view on these poisons: he shows their unusual symptoms, and builds scientific detective stories out of these. He also looks at the sources of the poisons, and how they fit into the economic life and industries of the various countries. Finally, there is a good deal of spy material here - the stories are set at the era of first involvement of the USA in World War I in 1917. These stories are as knowledge based as Reeve's earlier fiction - they are packed with information on Latin America, shipping and poisons - but they do not deal with scientific advances, the way the first two volumes of Craig Kennedy stories do. Instead, they are based on general scientific and social knowledge. The tales are somewhat on the middle level of Reeve's achievement. They all tend to be weak as mystery stories, with the exception of "The Black Diamond". The identity of the criminal in them is often arbitrary. However, the knowledge makes a good reading experience.