In The Markenmore Mystery (1922) by J. S. Fletcher, the chief constable was talking to two lawyers about a stranger man who had gone to "Sceptre Inn" and booked a room there, but he never came back to it.

“Grimsdale asserts that the first man was an American,” remarked Walkinshaw. “We haven’t a plenitude of Americans in residence about here. I could count them on my fingers.”

“That’s so,” said the Chief Constable. “If the man was an American—and Grimsdale says he’s met a good many in his time, so he ought to know—he came from somewhere outside our neighbourhood. But what beats me is—how did he and the other man get away, unobserved, on Tuesday morning?”

Mr. Fransemmery, who, like Blick, had listened attentively, but silently, to these exchanges of opinion and idea, coughed gently, as if deprecating any idea that he wished to interfere.

“Talking of—of America,” he remarked, “it may be of no importance, and not even relative to the subject under discussion, but I may observe that a mail steamer left Southampton for New York at one o’clock on Tuesday afternoon last. Now, Markenmore is within thirty miles of Southampton by road, and if this man—the first man—was an American, it is possible that he journeyed to Southampton, caught that boat, and was away to sea before hearing of what had befallen the man whom he had entertained to supper. I know about that boat, because I mailed some antiquarian documents to a friend of mine in the United States by it.”

The Chief Constable twisted his military moustache and considered Mr. Fransemmery.

“Um!” he remarked. “Might be a good deal in that—he might certainly have taken this place in his way between London and Southampton. But—the queer thing is, we can’t hit on a trace of his coming or going!”

“Why did he never return to the Sceptre—where three pounds fourteen shillings change was due to him?” asked Walkinshaw.

I found that "a good deal" may mean "a lot", so does this sentence mean "there might be a lot of sensible details in that thought"?

1 Answer 1


The phrase is essentially an abbreviated version of ‘a good deal of sense’, which online searches will show you is a common phrase in British English (and probably other Englishes as well). It has a slightly dated feel as a phrase, having increased steeply in popularity between the 1950s and 1980 then dropped away again:

NGram screenshot

  • You mentioned both "good deal of sense" and "great deal of sense" in your answer, so I got an Ngram of both. Couldn't figure out any better way to embed it than simply screenshotting and uploading the image. Let me know if you meant a different search, and I can edit in a different picture for you :-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Apr 5, 2021 at 12:01
  • @Randal'Thor I think I just got terminally muddled by that stage! I think both are useful, thank you very much for the edit.
    – Spagirl
    Commented Apr 5, 2021 at 12:20

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