Captain Scraggs (Peter B. Kyne, 1911)

I usually write these summaries within a few hours of finishing the book, but it’s been almost a week since I read Captain Scraggs. The delay I suppose just comes down to me not wanting to think about it anymore.

I’m not certain why Scraggs, who is sometimes a captain, is in the title. He’s one of the three recurring characters, along with Gibney and McGuffey, but I wouldn’t say the most prominent or important. There isn’t a plot, only a series of incidents. The book gets more disjointed as it goes along; by the time it reaches the gunrunning conspiracy, it’s abandoned all semblance of continuity. The tone is… uncertain. There are parts that I’m sure are meant to be comedic, but I wouldn’t call it a comedy. It reads like Kyne is attempting satire, but satire needs to be satirizing something, and there’s just nothing there.

Inscriptions: signed H.E. Guptill or maybe Gubtill on the front flyleaf.

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The Understanding Heart (Peter B. Kyne, 1926)

Between the author’s several diversionary misogynistic, racist, and anti-immigrant screeds, there’s a story about a lawyer who quits his practice to become a forest ranger, meets and falls in love with a woman who’s stationed at the fire look-out, then quits the rangers to become a lawyer again to defend the woman’s friend, who has been convicted of murdering the man his wife was having an affair with, but it was actually some convoluted plot by the local mining company to steal his land.

Inscription: Signed George A. Thomas in a great, sprawling hand diagonally across the entire front endpaper.