The Grand Babylon Hotel – Arnold Bennett

When Nella wants something, she gets it. Whilst staying at the Grand Babylon Hotel whilst dining, nothing on the menu appeals. She wants “filleted steak and a bottle of Bass”. The hotel waiter and chef, renown throughout Europe refuse. Her father, Theodore Racksole simple buys their consent. He makes an offer to the hotel owner and buys the hotel outright.

Now with a hotel to worry about Theodore Racksole begins to make changes, but whilst the staff seem to have their own agenda, there is the worry of the missing guests who have yet  to turn up. What does turn up is a dead body. And so the owner and daughter of The Grand Babylon Hotel find themselves embroiled in something rather odd.

But it is not 2012 it is in fact 1902 and The Grand Babylon Hotel in London, with a separate entrance for Royal visitors (of which there is plenty) does not appear ‘grand’ on the outside, in fact if you enter do not even ask the cost, enjoy the stay, the food, the sumptuous surroundings, pay the bill of which you never question and leave to return another day. All this means that Racksole and his daughter stand out rather being ‘American’. Adventure takes over and suddenly along with murder and royal intrigue, romance beckons.

This is a quirky little novel, and one which I enjoyed mainly because of the setting. I like stories based in institutions and having worked in a hotel environment it appealed. The chapters are short, as it was released as a serial, and with the headings you can see the story build and unfold. Not a common author for murder mystery but a refreshing change. If you fancy reading this book then I got mine from Project Gutenberg here

My immediate thought from this book, mainly the title was the Hotel Babylon book by Imogen Edward-Jones and the infamous anonymous. Which was also made into a successful television series. The goings on at The Grand Babylon Hotel have a certain a ring to them from the Edwards-Jones expose series of books. 

I now must go and seek out At Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie. Anyone got any other novels set in hotels that you think I should check out.

2 thoughts on “The Grand Babylon Hotel – Arnold Bennett

  1. I enjoyed this one too and it was very different from any other books of his I’ve read. I worked in a hotel as a young teenager so was drawn to hotel settings. I liked Jean Nicol’s books – Hotel Regina, Bertioni’s Hotel and a couple of others, but they are quite difficult to get now I think.

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