19 NOVEMBER 1921, Page 22

Romance to the .Rescue. By Denis Mackail. (John Murray. 7s.

lid. net.)—It is pleasant to be able to say of a young author that his work improves with every novel he publishes, and this is certainly the case with Mr. Denis Maekail, but, unfortunately, we must amplify the statement by acknowledging that at his present Tate of progress he will have to give us three or four more :books before be attains complete success. The story opens brilliantly, though even at the beginning Mr. Mackail indulges in certain jocularities which are quite unworthy of his style, and -which are, indeed, superfluous, for he is capable, -not only of -wit, but also of humour. Rare indeed in current novels is a passage so amusing as the scene in which Leo Cartwright, a famous actor-manager—the -central figure of the story—is sounded as to his willingness to become .a candidate for a Parliamentary safe seat. Thegre,at man instantly assumes " an expression considerably more legislative than that .of any professional politician. He might, in fact, almost have posed for a composite photograph of the. Cabinet." His silent address, in which by changes of expression he -tells -far more than Lord Eueleigh ever did by his shake .of the head, is:excellently described, and the answer to his question as to the finances of Members of Parliament is moat diverting. " Is there •

salary ? ' pursued Mr. Cartwright. ' Eight s, week,' said Mn Gordon, translating into theatrical language." Unfortunately, however, later in the book the author gets tied up in his plot, and in the end he most unexpectedly becomes exceedingly sentimental. We have had a good many pictures of the ways and moods of the actor-raanagerlately both in fact and in fiction, but Mr. Mackairs full-length portrait contrives to be original.