An Artist in Crime

Just ahead of my appearance tonight with Tucker, welcome to the final installment of our latest Tale for Our Time – published in 1913, John Buchan’s thrilling tale of The Power-House. In tonight’s concluding episode, Edward Leithen sizes up his opponent:

“The talent you mentioned,” I said. “As I read your character—and I think I am right—you are an artist in crime. You are not the common cut-throat who acts out of passion or greed. No, I think you are something subtler than that. You love power, hidden power. You flatter your vanity by despising mankind and making them your tools. You scorn the smattering of inaccuracies which passes for human knowledge, and I will not venture to say you are wrong. Therefore you use your brains to frustrate it. Unhappily the life of millions is built on that smattering, so you are a foe to society. But there would be no flavour in controlling subterranean things if you were yourself a mole working in the dark. To get the full flavour, the irony of it all, you must live in the light. I can imagine you laughing in your soul as you move about our world, praising it with your lips, patting it with your hands, and kicking its props away with your feet. I can see the charm of it.”

Indeed. There’s a lot of it about these days. Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear me read the conclusion of The Power-House simply by clicking here and logging-in. Earlier episodes can be found here.

Thank you so much for your kind words about Tales for Our Time as 2020 gets into stride. Some like the ripping yarns for boys, some the more genteel social comedy for girls, but of the tales in totality all seem to agree with a First Month Founding Member from Texas, Ross Spence:

Keep them coming.

We will, Ross. You can count on that. So, if you enjoyed our time with John Buchan, I hope you’ll join me later this month for a brand new and very different Tale for Our Time. And, if you’ve yet to hear any of our Tales, you can enjoy the first two-and-a-half years’ worth of audio adventures – by Conan Doyle, Kafka, Conrad, Gogol, Dickens, Baroness Orczy, Jack London, Louisa May Alcott, Robert Louis Stevenson and more – by joining The Mark Steyn Club. For details on membership, see here – and, if you’re seeking the perfect present for a fellow fan of classic fiction, don’t forget our Steyn Club Gift Membership. Sign up a pal today and he or she will also be eligible to participate in this coming Friday’s Clubland Q&A.

Do stick with us through the week for a full panoply of attractions. Before we part, please allow me a quick plug for our Tales of Our Time home page in its handy Netflix-style tile format. It’s super-easy to pick out whatever tickles your fancy of an evening – sci-fi, thriller, historical romance – and Timely Talers from around the world seem to like it.

See you with Tucker in an hour or so.

Continue reading at SteynOnline