Four conspirators, ostensibly looking out for the good of society send a telecommunication to the government that unless certain changes happen, “Four Just Men” will assassinate will the head of the government. The novel then acts as a chase of these individuals.
There’s a kind of bomb-throwing anarchist cartoonishness to this novel, and it already feels so familiar to so many other books I’ve read both from this time-period and much later. Within this time-period we have books like The Riddle of the Sands, some Sherlock Holmes stories (and later Sherlock Holmes pastiche), The Secret Agent, and even the anarchist parody/cosmology book The Man who was Thursday. After, this book shares some sensibility with Rogue Male, The Day of the Jackyl, The 39 Steps, and plenty of others. What all this means is that this book is clearly a marker of time in the genre, a source of inspiration, and perfectly good in its own right. It’s an artifact with a level of nostalgia to it as well. It’s not, however, that example of a first and best kind of book.