15 NOVEMBER 1997, Page 38

Deborah Devonshire

The first was sent to me to review. It was a wretched volume on that most dreary of subjects, class. It was repetitive, dull, inaccurate and a thundering bore, so I sent it back. Can't remember the title or the author, but I don't think you'll want to read it.

The opposite of a bore is Mr Lyward's Answer by Michael Burn (Hamish Hamil- ton, 1956). I got it second hand and out fell glowing reviews written by Harold Nicolson & co. It is a gripping account of a 'school' for wayward boys who had been written off as impossible by parents and traditional educationalists and who luckily found themselves among people and in surround- ings which gave them hope. Where are the Mr Lywards now?

No Regrets: The Life of Marietta Tree by Caroline Seebohm (Simon & Schuster, 1997). Perhaps I am intrigued because I know many of the characters, but I am also stumped by it. I can't make out if the author likes or dislikes her. Is it tongue in cheek or what? You tell me (or perhaps the author will). I find Marietta's life of extreme luxury coupled with left-wing politics very tiresome, but I swallowed it with interest.