11 FEBRUARY 1938, Page 38


Mr. Palmer's book (Heinemann, 7s. 6d.) has the virtue of a threatening pessimism. Writing is one of those more erratic professions which conceal a mass of poverty behind a few spec- tacular fortunes, and Mr. Palmer is wisely full of discouragement for the infatuated novice. -His guide to the profession is sufficiently informative at the level of rough-and-tumble journalism, though it is to be hoped that no one will emulate the tasteless 'Verbal- tic Which

compels Palmer to make such vulgar jokes as " 4mmaculate deception." In his discussion of the short story and the novel Mr. Palmer will seem to be rather ludicrously out of his depth, unless it is realised that he is writing exclusively for the magazine author. Those who want to please editors, follow the market, ask no questions and generally " make good ", will doubtless find some service- able tips in this glorification of lucrative mediocrity. The pearl of wisdom, according to Mr. Palmer, is " healthy, virile and truly romantic love stories " ; and no coquetting with " gloom, mor- bidity, religion, politics or the treacher- ous territory of sex."