18 JANUARY 1873, Page 22

The Surgeon's Secret. By Sydney ,Mostyn. (S. Tinsley.)—It is difficult

to criticise a novel which relies for its interest on the skill with which the reader is mystified. Let us say briefly, then, that he is mystified very skilfully. He will scarcely be able to guess what the "surgeon's secret" was ; or rather, there being but two alternatives to guess from, he will probably guess the wrong. Nor is this effect pro- duced at the cost of any improbabilities, except, perhaps, the proceeding of the " Surgeon " which leads to the catastrophe, his coming to live in the close neighbourhood of his victim. So clever a fellow would have taken his price and been off. One criticism more ; should not such a very admirable creature as Cicely have felt some scruple, at least, at living with the man to whom she did not suppose herself to be legally married? Women brought up as she had been do, as a matter of fact, whether reasonably or unreasonably, feel such scruples. But if we criticise any more, we shall be telling the story. Briefly, then, we may recommend the novel to our readers ; it has, indeed, as they must have seen, a certain flavour of bigamy about it, but it is in nowise offensive.