Fifteen year old Philip Anson is about to commit suicide when a meteor changes his life.
Philip fools people. He looks like a street urchin but is well spoken and people don’t know what to make of him. He came apart when his mother died and wandered around taking whatever jobs he could get.
One stormy London night the city was deluged by two severe thunderstorms. Philip chose that night to end it all. He’s just about to jump with a rope around his neck when a meteor slams into the area outside his window. He takes that as a sign from his mother.
It’s an isolated area of the city and he’s the only one who knows of the small meteor strike. He’s curious about the white stones that are spread all over the place.He takes a few to a diamond merchant. The man thinks he stole them and get the police and Philip is arrested on suspicion of theft.
He refuses to give his right name and is tossed into a cell. The diamonds are worth at least fifty thousand pounds. There are plenty more where they came from. He keeps the location to himself. The newspapers print his story and most people laugh it off and think he’s a common thief. Since there haven’t been any reports of robberies of meteoric diamonds everyone is confused.
To his surprise Philip has an unknown benefactor who makes sure he gets good food while in jail. Then he’s released. The Magistrate looks out for him and Philip gives him a paper with his right name and address. The Magistrate puts it in his pocket unopened and says it’ll stay that way until or if Philip is back before him. He warns him about the newspaper stories and there may be people about to swindle him and maybe even murder him to get the location of the diamonds.
Philip takes the bundle he had when arrested back to the jeweler who turned him in to do some business. He makes a deal and then goes home to pack everything including the meteor. He spots a face at the window as he still has one suitcase open. A policeman comes by and he and the burglar brawl. Philip hits the burglar over the head and the man is arrested. No one believes his story about seeing a suitcase full of diamonds.
Philip now starts his new life by storing his stash and taking a suite in an exclusive London hotel. He calls on he Magistrate to quit his post and act as his guardian and handle all his affairs for a nice salary. Phillip is now a millionaire nicknamed the king of diamonds.
Ten years pass and Philip owns a yacht, a diamond mine in South Africa and even had a home for destitute bots built on the site of his former home. The place is named after his mother.
Things couldn’t be better. He doesn’t know that there’s a nefarious plot against him that includes the burglar he had arrested who is now out and wants to kill him.
This is a good read and in no ways written in the stodgy style as were many books of the early 20th century. If you spot it in a used book store or a library sale it’s worth picking up. I found it for under five dollars and that’s as much as anyone should pay.