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The Four Just Men

(The Four Just Men #1)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  862 ratings  ·  66 reviews
When the Foreign Secretary Sir Philip Ramon receives a threatening, greenish-grey letter signed FOUR JUST MEN, he remains determined to see his Aliens Extradition Bill made law. A device in the members' smokeroom and a sudden magnesium flash that could easily have been nitro-glycerine leave Scotland Yard baffled. Even Fleet Street cannot identify the illusive Manfred, Gons ...more
ebook, 134 pages
Published March 3rd 2010 by House of Stratus (first published June 4th 1905)
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3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  862 ratings  ·  66 reviews

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George K.
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
Το "Οι Τέσσερις Δίκαιοι" είναι ένα από τα πρώτα και κλασικότερα θρίλερ της τρομερής Βρετανικής σχολής, το οποίο εκδόθηκε για πρώτη φορά πριν από εκατόν δώδεκα χρόνια (!), δηλαδή το 1905. Ναι, είναι τόσο παλιό. Στα ελληνικά έχουν κυκλοφορήσει κάμποσα βιβλία του Έντγκαρ Ουάλας, αλλά πολύ παλιά, από εκδόσεις Λυχνάρι, Άγκυρα, ΒΙΠΕΡ κ.α. Μιλάμε τώρα για δεκαετίες του '60 και του '70. Μπορεί και αυτό το βιβλίο να έχει κυκλοφορήσει παλιότερα, αλλά δεν έχει σημασία: Τώρα κυκλοφορεί σε όλα τα βιβλιοπωλεί ...more
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, crime
Surprisingly contemporary...

When the British Foreign Secretary decides to push through a law which will allow the enforced return of political refugees to their countries of origin, he becomes a target of the Four Just Men – a group of vigilantes who set out to right what they perceive as wrongs that the normal systems of justice can't touch. The story is a kind of cat-and-mouse game where the reader, along with the entire British public, waits to see if the Four Just Men succeed in carrying out
Tim Orfanos
Ένα από τα αντιπροσωπευτικότερα μυθιστορήματα της Βρετανικής σχολής αστυνομικής λογοτεχνίας του 20ου αιώνα (1905) και ένα από τα σημαντικότερα βιβλία 'κλειδωμένου δωματίου' μαζί με 'Το μυστήριο του κίτρινου δωματίου' του Γκαστόν Λερού (1907) και τον 'Ασώματο άνθρωπο' του Τζον Ντίξον Καρ (1935).

Χαρακτηριστικά, ο Ουώλλας εμπνεύστηκε την ιστορία του βιβλίου το 1904, όταν κάλυπτε τον πόλεμο Ιαπωνίας-Ρωσίας όπου και γνώρισε από κοντά τον 'σκοτεινό' και επικίνδυνο κόσμο των μυστικών πρακτόρων. Άλλωστ
A locked room mystery/thriller. A group comprising of four men plan to carry out an assignation at the highest level in English politics and so change the course of history.

A dated story but surprisingly contemporary for world politics. Depending which side of the fence you are sitting on the "four just men" could easily be viewed as terrorist.

Enjoyed the locked room aspect and the period. Not a lot of characterisation on offer.

This particular edition was poorly edited so unable to recommend.
Mar 23, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2012 Review:

It was weird. I know, and distinctly recall the exact feeling, that I completely loved these men when I first read this long ago. I admired them and they were beyond cool and ingenious. I still think they’re ingenious. Thing is? I also think they are very probably in the wrong.

They’re murderers, killers, and their only frame of reference is their own sense of justice and their conscience. They’re the original vigilantes.

Now in the case of that raping priest one of them killed it’s a
Nick Duretta
I can see why this was hot stuff in its day (around the turn of the 20th century) but it doesn't age well. Wallace was an incredibly prolific writer of thrillers, and this one introduced the venerable "locked room" mystery that was to become a staple of mysteries and thrillers for years. A man, targeted for murder at a specific time, locks himself in a room in which there is no other access. Yet he's murdered anyway--how? The explanation here is barely convincing and not very satisfactory. The w ...more
DeAnna Knippling
Fun, fast read. Four criminals swear to kill a man unless he does what they want. His honor demands that he shall not bend. But the criminals act only for the greater good...

A nice crime story of a type that isn't often seen these days. I liked it.
Sep 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somehow, probably because of the 1959–60 TV series, I seem to have known about the concept of the Four Just Men all my life -- and I've even discussed on my Noirish site the 1939 movie based (very loosely) on Edgar Wallace's novel -- so it came as quite a surprise recently to realize that I'd never actually read the novel itself.

The Four Just Men are essentially psychopaths, but they've channeled their psychopathy into the murdering only of people who are doing immeasurable harm to numbers of ot
Sep 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Certainly not the best or best written mystery ever published, but such a fun read! I don't know if Wallace intended to, but he certainly skewered MPs, which is part of the fun. Not surprisingly, he's got anarchists wrong (the Four Just Men argue they aren't anarchists, and they're not), but reflects the fear of anarchists fueled by the press and ppoliticians--not to mention the acts of whacks who thought themselves anarchists or agent provocateurs--in the late 19th early 29 century. As an histo ...more
In essence a detective story in which the motive for the crime, the threat of the crime and the police's attempt to thwart the crime take centre stage. The crime itself takes place towards the end. At no point is it obvious how the criminals (The Four Just Men of the title) could succeed.

Not the greatest detective story and, perhaps one which could have been handled more engagingly as a short story. This is because the characterisation is minimal, nobody seems to stand out and they are all very
S Dizzy
This was a very intense story especially given when it was written. It has certainly stood the test of time and could be classified today as a thriller. Having said that, I was stunned by the arrogance of the vigilantes. I think this sentence sums it up for me "Here are men arrogating to themselves the divine right of superior judgment."
This short and taut thriller is one of the best you will ever read in the crime genre. A story of four vigilante men, it makes for great reading and is definitely the perfect book for a boring afternoon!
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
In my quest this year to always have one classic novel going, I decided to start with this author I never heard of, an early 20th century Brit who specialized in journalism and the Victorian/Edwardian version of thrillers.

"Four Just Men" was the start of a series about a determined band of European vigilantes who decide to kill off people in the world whom the law cannot punish. In this debut, their target is none other than the foreign secretary of Great Britain, who is pushing through a bill t
I enjoyed this book much more than I expected. I knew nothing about it other than it's on my list of top mysteries to read. Turns out it is terrific satire that is surprisingly (and depressingly) very applicable to the current state of human affairs.
Laura Rittenhouse
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A mystery that is the opposite of a who-done-it. From the beginning you are introduced to the 4 just men and learn of their desire to kill a prominent politician in England if he doesn't meet their demand. The demand is simple, do not table a bill that will allow the extradition of political activists. Not only is the reader told of their intention, the politician, police, newspapers and entire British population know as well (and a good portion of the rest of the world).

The mystery is around ho
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulp
Not really worth it. A dimestore novel, but it's outlived its usefulness. Too many characters, and a plot which is promoted as "one of the great puzzles of crime fiction" but really hangs entirely on contrivance. Points, though, for some of the unexpected deviations - the story of Billy Marks is affectingly handled - and for its surprising timeliness: a story about well-meaning activists who become terrorists in their bid to stop an illegal immigration bill planned by self-righteous-but-decent p ...more
Jun 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There can't be many authors who have a best seller that bankrupts them but Wallace managed it with this book, the story of how he did is every bit as entertaining as anything he wrote and is well worth investigating, anyway back to the book. A short book, a novella really, how four criminals pull off a remarkable crime under the police-force's nose. This isn't a book of hero's and villains, there's no Sherlock Holmes to solve the crime and the four men themselves are shadowy figures, it's just t ...more
Filip Đukić
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vrlo zanimljiv krimić, u maloj mjeri fantastičnog karaktera - bez klasičnog dominantnog inspektora koji na kraju hvata ubojice. Zapravo policija ni ne zna tko su ubojice ministra koji je trebao donijeti zakon koji se nije svidio ljudima od pravde - u originalu 3 ojca jer je 4. prikrpan i kasnije ubijen. Ono sitno što sam do sada pročitao od krimića (Nesbo, Larsson) imalo je nekakav kalup da su inspektori bili uvijek u središtu zbivanja; dok je ovdje radnja ravnomjerno raspoređena na sve likove. ...more
Bill Fletcher
Cold and rainy night, power went out in the house and this was the perfect book to snuggle up with on my Kindle. Okay, you can't exactly snuggle up with a Kindle the way you can with an actual book, but it sure beats trying to read by candlelight. Definitely an old-fashioned writing style and kind of a poor-man's Chesterton, but a very fast read and interesting enough that I'll read more of his stuff, especially if the lights go out again!
Nov 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
This was more interesting for the story of the story -- Edgar Wallace's life and the bankrupting contest he sponsored for the book -- than for the story itself. However, that story was interesting, a Sherlock Holmes story without a memorable Holmes but with the same atmosphere, and a bit more suspense. It's also very short, so I found it well worth the time to read.
David Macpherson
This is a strange old book. The heroes are rich folk who are planning on killing a government official because he is about to introduce a piece of legislation into Parliament they are against. It is clever and has some nice detail and it moves, but the sense of moral vertigo kind of threw me, it was an odd reading experience.
Jan 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok read but wouldn't classify it as one of the crime books of the 20th century
Nov 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting twist to the mystery format - the book starts with the "4 just men" (vigilantes) planning the death of English minister Ramon and the murder doesn't occur until almost the very end.
Miika Hannila
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An astonishingly well written and timeless classic. Wallace has the ability to describe place and time vividly and without lengthening the novel unnecessarily.
R.V. Raman
May 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A milestone in crime fiction.
Nov 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kovacs, Wm, Bo
Recommended to Patricia by: Head Butler, perhaps?
Most enjoyable! A backwards murder mystery, where you're rooting for the murderers. A fun thriller with a touch of the Wodehouse about it.
Nov 09, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Edgar Wallace was a great storyteller - he wrote "King Kong" for heaven's sake! This story is a real pleasure to read - about a vigilante group on the trail of a bomber in London.
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wallace introduces a cast of characters who appear in a series of novels about a group of men dedicated to punishing individuals who, despite their crimes, have not been brought to justice by legal means. Characterization is spotty throughout and Wallace's policemen are bested by the more intelligent and inventive vigilantes.

The object of the "Just Men" in this novel is to cause the withdrawal of the Alien Extradition (Political Offences) Bill by threatening the sponsor, England's Foreign Secret
Arthur Pierce
There are portions of this book that are gripping, and other spots that are quite tedious. Wallace is not a great writer by any standards (at the beginning of part 2 he finds it necessary to spell out to the reader that they should sympathize with the title characters) and I'm sure it bothered him not a bit when readers pointed out that much of the incident of his books strained the credibility. There is no doubt that this sort of thing influenced the comic book super hero genre for years afterw ...more
Gregg Narber
Early 20th century British mystery. The Four Just Men are basically vigilantes who assure the punishment (death) of evildoers who would otherwise "get away with it". Their ingenuity and ability to keep several steps ahead of those who would thwart them, including police, are the essence of the plot. Interesting enough (and quick) read though not one which tempts me to pursue what is apparently a series about these men and their doings by Edgar Wallace. Another recent experience with British myst ...more
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Espionage Aficion...: 'The Four Just Men' by Edgar Wallace 6 16 Dec 20, 2015 12:02PM  
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Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace (1875-1932) was a prolific British crime writer, journalist and playwright, who wrote 175 novels, 24 plays, and countless articles in newspapers and journals.

Over 160 films have been made of his novels, more than any other author. In the 1920s, one of Wallace's publishers claimed that a quarter of all books read in England were written by him.

He is most famous today a

Other books in the series

The Four Just Men (6 books)
  • The Council of Justice (The Four Just Men #2)
  • I giusti di Cordova
  • The Law of the Four Just Men
  • I Tre Giusti
  • Again the Three Just Men
“In newspaper-land a dull lie is seldom detected, but an interesting exaggeration drives an unimaginative rival to hysterical denunciations.” 0 likes
“Edgar Wallace
Four Just Men Table of Contents Thery's Trade
A Newspaper Story
The Faithful Commons
One Thousand Pounds Reward
The Outrage at the 'Megaphone'
The Clues
The Messenger of the Four
The Pocket-Book
The Cupidity of Marks
Three Who Died
A Newspaper Cutting
Conclusion Prologue: Thery's Trade If you leave the Plaza del Mina, go down the narrow street, where, from ten till four, the big flag of the United States Consulate hangs lazily; through the square on which the Hotel de la France fronts, round by the Church of Our Lady, and along the clean, narrow thoroughfare that is the High Street of Cadiz, you will come to the Cafe of the Nations.”
More quotes…