I’ve just reread “The Ebony Stick,” a novella by Earl Derr Biggers, who is best known for the Charlie Chan books. Diggers wrote quite a few very good short stories, novellas, and novelettes, several of them with crime themes, though none featuring his most famous sleuth. This one was published about a century ago, but the characters and story line still ring true. Here is my review for Amazon and Good Reads:

The Ebony Stick: [illustrated] by Earl Derr Biggers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an excellent story about a Texan traveling to Italy who is targeted by a con man. The plot includes some very good twists. Those familiar with the genre might be able to predict some of them, but it’s an enjoyable journey, and the Texan learns an important lesson in the course of the story.