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The Grand Babylon Hotel

3.39  ·  Rating Details  ·  278 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
The Grand Babylon Hotel is an exclusive London establishment, and American millionaire Theodore Racksole, visiting the hotel with his spirited 23-year-old daughter Nella, decides to buy the place. What he hasn't counted on is having to deal with a criminal conspiracy whose purposes are not at all clear, and events take an unexpected turn as Theodore and Nella play detectiv ...more
Paperback, 219 pages
Published May 27th 1976 by Penguin Books (first published 1902)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 497)
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Pramod Nair
Aug 13, 2015 Pramod Nair rated it liked it
Shelves: classics, mystery
If you are looking for an amusing and easy to read novel with lots of mystery, political conspiracy, espionage and interesting characters all bound together with a splash of romance and humor then The Grand Babylon Hotel by Arnold Bennett can be a satisfying choice. Written in 1902, this is a pretty fast paced novel with plenty of silly action and has a certain charm of simplicity that is common with the plots and mysteries of the books from the early 1900s.

At the beginning of this story, the r
Mar 02, 2012 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
In 1902 Arnold Bennett told the world an extraordinary tale of events at london’s most prestigious hotel: The Grand Babylon Hotel.

A hotel founded in 1869 by Félix Babylon, the son of a successful Swiss hotelier, to offer the finest service and the utmost discretion to royalty and the creme de la creme of European society.

He succeeded in creating the hotel of his dreams.

He had a peerless team to support him: Jules ran the dining room, Rocco ran the kitchen, and Miss Spencer ran the reception desk
A delightful “lark”: a humorous Edwardian mystery, told in short chapters, each ending on a cliff-hanger or surprising revelation (written for serialisation). It sounds clichéd, but is so well done, that it merely adds to the charm.

Theodore Racksole is an American millionaire “who owned one thousand miles of railway, several towns, and sixty votes in Congress”. He and his daughter, Nella, visit The Grand Babylon Hotel in London, which he buys on a whim because the head waiter refuses to serve st
Mar 22, 2011 Sylvester rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-spy
Is this really the same Bennett that wrote "The Old Wives Tale"? Wow. Well, nothing deep in this book! It was fine, I really enjoyed the beginning, the little tussle between the head waiter and the millionaire that starts the craziness that follows was quite funny. As a light adventure/mystery, its not bad, but not awesome either. I far prefer Bennett's more serious novels.
Dec 27, 2013 Laura rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Bettie, Carey
From BBC Radio 4 - Saturday Drama:
Murder mystery by Arnold Bennett, adapted in two parts by Chris Harrald. An American tycoon buys a hotel and is cast into a world of Edwardian espionage and murder.
"Follow that carriage !" commands the heroine as she jumps into a horse & buggy and gives chase. Did Arnold Bennett launch (1902) the classic line, "Follow that car !"

A creaky serial, written over 2 weeks in Bennett's early career, which hosts schemers, evil-doers, plotters and mischief-makers at a grand London hotel and involves a Balkan prince who may renounce a throne for love. My year at the Chelsea Hotel, NYC, missed this pandemonium.
Feb 18, 2015 Griselda rated it it was ok
Arnold Bennett wrote this book 'for a lark' and it takes the form of a madcap chase from London to Ostend and back. The opening chapter is so promising, with Racksole's purchase on a whim of the capital's most luxurious hotel so that he can call the tune in the restaurant and insist on dining off a steak and a bottle of Bass, to the chagrin of the supercilious maître d'hôtel. With a cast of shady minor royalty and cardboard cut-out crooks from the melodrama, the novel should engage its reader, b ...more
Marts  (Thinker)
Jun 18, 2013 Marts (Thinker) rated it it was amazing
The second Bennett adventure I've read, the first being 'Buried Alive', and I thoroughly enjoyed it...
American millionaire Theodore Racksole is staying at The Grand Babylon Hotel with his daughter Nella and is a bit displeased with service one evening, so he complains to the manager and ends up just buying the hotel from him... Now this may seem a rather simple transaction for a millionaire but what about when murder and other crimes and conspiricies follow such a transaction?
Dec 18, 2015 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, read-in-2015
I love vintage mysteries, a bit old-fashioned, no gratuitous sex or violence. They’re comfort reads for me. I read a short story by Arnold Bennett in Resorting to Murder from Poisoned Pen Press and enjoyed it, so I picked up the free Kindle version of The Grand Babylon Hotel and I’m glad I did. It’s a light mystery, but full of intrigue and adventure and a plucky young woman who’s not afraid of a bit of danger.

The hotel was an interesting setting. The Babylon is a quite distinguished hotel and o
A quick read, and rather a flimsy one, this is a fast-moving caper involving an American millionaire who purchases the titular establishment on a whim and, along with his spirited daughter, becomes involved in a far-fetched plot involving unscrupulous staff members and minor European royalty.

Its origins as a newspaper serial are evident from the short chapters, often ending in cliffhangers. Hardly recognisable as being by the author of the magisterial "The Riceyman Steps", this early work is ver
Jun 24, 2014 Maiiam rated it liked it
I liked the idea of the book.I didn't feel bored in the middle of the book because of its comedic,sweet way of narrating,but i sometimes felt a little unsatisfied as i wanted more suspense and i wished to get tired of thinking but that didn't happen as almost every time the troubles came i thought of jules and only jules and it came true without hard thinking like it solves itself not offering many people to suspect and accuse.But in general i liked it but i'll give it 3 or 3.5.
Irma Walter
Feb 21, 2014 Irma Walter rated it liked it
The story line is a bit simplistic for contemporary tastes... I suppose it's appropriate for the time the book was published. Bennet again manages to ravish the mind with his descriptions of the buildings and professional activities that appear in his book. Setting off the European aristocracy against American wealth, seems to be a topic that got public attention. I can't help asking myself, if the rich were quite that unconcerned with their security in times past.
May 16, 2015 Losarah rated it really liked it
Was very amusing. Full of suspense, lots of escapades, royality, monarchy. Really loved the charachter of the extravagant, spolied, stubborn, having her own way nella and the love story with aribert. Loved the analysis and tone of racksole and his love for justice. The ending is rather funny as it tells all the events really happened cause of a steak and a bottle of bass at the table d'hôte of the grand babylon hotel.
Sep 05, 2014 C-shaw rated it it was amazing
A free Gutenberg Kindle book, chosen because I enjoyed Arnold Bennett's book _Mental Efficiency,_ and because I stupidly confused it with "The Grand Budapest Hotel," a movie I'm itching to see.
* * * * *
This is such a good book, much like a Miss Marple mystery, only with more action. It's very well written and entertaining, with great characters. Get yourself a free copy and read it!!!
Joy H.
Aug 28, 2015 Joy H. marked it as watched-film-only
Added 7/28/13 (I became interested in this book after watching the film adaptation of Arnold Bennett's book, The Card: A Story of Adventure in the Five Towns .)
See my review at:


Also see my Message #59 at: ]
(There are 3 different Bennett's.
Their first names are: ALAN, WILLIAM, and ARNOLD.)

May 29, 2011 Glitter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Grand Babylon Hotel" is one of those books ready to bring us into the depths of nostalgia. I read it with great fascination and was surprised at how easily it flowed especially for a book so old and on an age where speech was of completely different patterns.

It was a detective mystery, but more than that: it provided a little passageway into the underworld of a truly great hotel, a little fire which sparked the imagination. It kept me hooked, maybe not to the very last page, but to the las
Shiva Patel
Jun 18, 2015 Shiva Patel rated it liked it
This is a quirky fun story and great read. The short chapters are titled just so and leave you hanging on for more!
You can picture the characters as you read and makes a perfect screenplay.
I can't believe it was published in 1902!
Amy Sherman
I just discovered this author, and this is the second book I have read of his. I enjoy the wit and humor sprinkled throughout the book.
Jan 01, 2012 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Millionaire Theodore Racksole and his daughter Nella are used to getting their own way, and are determined to let nothing stop them. After buying the Grand Babylon Hotel on the spur of the moment, Theodore Racksole soon finds himself in the middle of mystery and intrigue involving a German Prince. I don't usually like political intrigue, but this book was a light read and the Racksoles were entertaining to follow.

Somehow I imagined Theodore Racksole looking like Theodore Roosevelt without reali
Vikas Datta
A forgotten classic.. recreates the times and mores perfectly in a tale of international intrigue...
Chris Wise
Mar 24, 2015 Chris Wise rated it liked it
not to be confused with the film The grand Budapest hotel! Enjoyed it but not one of Bennett's best


American tycoon Theodore Racksole buys Europe's most exclusive hotel on a whim, but is warned by the seller that he will live to regret it. Soon, a mysterious death occurs and Theodore and his daughter Nella find themselves in danger in their own hotel.

Nov 22, 2015 Bettie☯ rated it liked it
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: wanda

American tycoon Theodore Racksole buys Europe's most exclusive hotel on a whim, but is warned by the seller that he will live to regret it. Soon, a mysterious death occurs and Theodore and his daughter Nella find themselves in danger in their own hotel.

Theodore Racksole ...... John Sessions
Nella Racksole ...... Matti Houghton
Aribert ...... Joe Kloska
Jules ...... Richard Katz
Miss Spencer ...... Fenella Woolgar
Felix Babylon ...... Stephen Greif
Reginald Dimmock ...... Gunnar Cauthery
Miss Ferguson .
Mary López
Dec 27, 2015 Mary López rated it really liked it
Scandals and mistery that could be found behind the walls of a hotel.
A light piece of fluff circa 1900 about an American millionaire and his daughter who impulsively purchase a London hotel with a clientele including European royalty. The millionaire and his daughter thus become embroiled in solving a kidnapping intrugue involving a very minor prince. Anyone heard of the principality of Posen? Quite a silly and preposterous story, but an amusing, quick read all the same.
Mar 03, 2015 Carolyn rated it liked it
The first chapter grabbed me, but somewhere after that it went rather lame. I liked it, but I can't Love it. They mystery intrigued with great promise, but everything else...well... eh. The protagonist and hotel professional supreme was likable and a great dreamer. Some parts brought me back around other parts left me wondering okay why am I still reading this? 3 stars only I'm afraid.
Feb 02, 2013 Lucy rated it did not like it
What did I think? I think Arnold Bennett should have stayed with the five towns. I found it difficult to believe that this is the same author who wrote the incomparable 'The Card'. He cannot find a credible voice for either the minor European royals or the rich Americans, and the plot is silly without being funny. A real disappointment.
Dec 22, 2010 Alechia rated it liked it
I really had no idea what to expect when I started reading this book, but it turned out to be pretty good. There are a lot of plot twists and interesting characters. The book comes full circle and has an ending which some people might find unsatisfying. All in all, it was a fun book to read.
Jun 23, 2013 Chris rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
The book starts off interesting with some good character development. I didn't care for the last quarter of book. There were too many characters introduced and it seemed a bit rushed. I found myself not caring too much about what happened to the main characters, either.
Dec 15, 2012 Sunshine rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It had the right balance of crime/mystery with a little bit of romance mixed in. Also, all the characters were entertaining, particularly the Racksole family. I would recommend this book to someone looking for a short entertaining read.
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Enoch Arnold Bennett (always known as Arnold Bennett) was one of the most remarkable literary figures of his time, a product of the English Potteries that he made famous as the Five Towns. Yet he could hardly wait to escape his home town, and he did so by the sheer force of his ambition to succeed as an author. In his time he turned his hand to every kind of writing, but he will be remembered for ...more
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