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Strange things are happening in the untenanted houses of Jowle Street. There are unaccountable creakings and weird knockings on the door of no.29, where a homeless ex-sailor has taken up residence. But even stranger things are happening in the house opposite, from where a beautiful woman in an evening gown brings Ben a mysterious message and, worse, the offer of a job!
Ben the ‘passing tramp' was immortalised on film by Alfred Hitchcock in the film Number 17, based on a popular '20s stage play and novelisation by journalist-turned-author Joe Jefferson Farjeon.
The House Opposite (1931) was the first full-length original novel to feature Ben, a reluctant down-at-heels Cockney sleuth, who went on to feature in six more successful detective thrillers from 1931 to 1952.
"There may be contemporary story writers who are equals of Mr. Farjeon in the ability to put the reader swiftly and wholly under the spell of the eerie and uncanny - but they have not come within our reading." (New York World)
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Marie on 02-25-16
Didn't hold my interest
For the most part, the story takes place in two houses facing each other across a rundown street. I was confused, especially when the plot moved to the second house (the bad guys) and have put the book aside. I am not interested enough in who did what and why.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Martin on 02-08-18
got to the end - needed determination
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
Not really. Always interesting to see what 1930's books had in them.
The two main characters are good, but it is too long, with many unnecessary sentences, and plot excursions. Book is OK, pleased to find out what J.J. Farjeon is like, but glad I don't have to do it again.
How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?
Pruned it by 25%. Fewer amazing escapes from peril. The basis of the criminality and the criminal organisation are unconvincing.
End was disappointing (as usual). Many loose ends. Maybe the author got fed up with it.
What aspect of David John’s performance might you have changed?
Narrator is very good with Ben the Tramp, but reads the rest of it in much the same voice.
Could you see The House Opposite being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?
Ben would be a good character. In a film I imagine that the plot would be drastically streamlined
By Carôle on 12-21-16
Very Complicated and Engrossing
I have honestly never come across this style of English crime thriller before - so I can not liken it to anything else! It is complicated, confusing, engaging and informative!
Ben - the tramp - is the owner of all of those characteristics and through his narration, the one point that stood out with me was, why didn't someone close the window? Hahahaha!
Worth persevering with, I shall try another to see if it's worth becoming addicted. The narration was great, so definitely worth a try!