I’ll go ahead and say it: they don’t write suspense novels like the used to.
More specifically, they don’t write suspense novels like William Le Queux did in 1905 when he wrote and published The Czar’s Spy.
This is the story of one Gordon Gregg, a fill-in consul at the port of Leghorn* in Italy. When a yacht runs aground, Gregg is drawn into a complicated web of double, and sometimes triple, identities, murder, suspicion, and love. In fact, it’s far too complicated to explain here.
Suffice it to say, I couldn’t put it down because I wanted to know what happened to Elma Heath even though she didn’t appear in the book until two-thirds of the way through. The story before that made me care about her fate, and that isn’t something you see very often in modern suspense stories.
If you’re interested in reading this book, physical copies might be harder/expensive to find. However, it is one of the “Free Popular Classics” on Amazon so if you’ve got an e-reader, like suspense, and want a good love story… get it!
Happily, Le Queux wrote 105 mystery/suspense novels so I’ve got more to find and read.
*I spent the entire book confused as to why an Italian city was named Leghorn and I’ve finally remembered to look it up. Leghorn is the Anglicization of the city named Livorno.