18 MAY 1912, Page 24

In Accordance with the Evidence. By Oliver Onions. (Martin Seeker.

68.)—The reader when he lays down this book will shudder- ingly hope that Mr. Oliver Onions has not the guilt of murder upon his soul. It must be confessed, however, that appearances are against him. He seems to know too much of the workings of the mind of a man who from reasons, not all of them evil, wishes to remove another from his path. It seems difficult to believe that the hero made no incriminating mistake when committing his crime, but as apparently ho writes long afterwards as a much respected citizen it may be supposed that this is what the author intends. The whole plot is in reality a preparation for the crime at the end. It has no other raison d'Ure or interest, and Mr. Onions obeyed a true artistic instinct in giving the volume a title which the reader is able to take as an indication of the plan of the story. We find it hard to decide who is the more disagreeable person in the book, the villain and victim, Merridew, or Jeffries, the hero and criminal. The women, though they play a large part in the story, are not very minutely drawn, but the picture of middle-class life in London among a crowd of young people all making their way in life is extraordinarily vivid, and the Business College in Holborn of some fifteen or twenty years ago is most cleverly sketched. Cleverness, indeed, is the mark of the book, though his readers will wish that Mr. Onions would treat them again to some work in his earlier and more poetic vein. Poetry would, indeed, be out of place on this occasion. Another time perhaps Mr. Onions will once more choose to listen to the voice of " the wind on the heath."