10 MAY 1930, Page 25

THE SEVENTH GATE. By Muriel Harris. (Cape. 7s. 6d.) —The

opening scene of this very queer novel takes place in the house of Doctor Risaleur, a celebrated anthropologist, who is visited by Catharine Troon, who has been impressed by an article he has written. She is an elderly music-teacher, untidy and nondescript and is obsessed by certain statements for which the doctor is responsible. "You say," she insists, "that if sex unused in its natural functions were diverted, and coupled with talent, instead of working mostly against it the joint impulse would be irresistible and that one could move mountains. One would be a genius—and not wasted and not unhappy and old and miserable any more." That is the first hint that the reader is given of the extraordinary development that is to take place in Catharine Troon. In spite of Dr. Risaleur's statement that he has not yet perfected a recipe for the sublimation of sex, she continues to believe in his theory. There follows an accident : Catharine receives a blow on the head and the rest of the book is devoted to a description of her rejuvenation and the marvellous develop- ment of her musical talent. Miss Harris is an able writer and her swift character sketches of the people who make uri Catharine's old and new world are vivid and clever. All the same the hotchpotch of fantasy and realism with which the author attempts to prove that physical and - Mental miracles may be performed by faith is not at all convincing. The book, which has won a 11,000 prize in a novel competition is interesting but must be regarded as a promising attempt rather than a successful achievement.