19 OCTOBER 1929, Page 42

THE BEST SHORT STORIES OF 1929. Edited by Edward J.

O'Brien. (Cape. 7s. 6d.)—Nineteen-twenty-nine's harvest of short stories has a richness of quality:ba -it lacks weight. The editor makes no unjust claim for the book ; as he says, the selection does not imply that they are great stories. Nevertheless, a few—a very few—contain at least one of the elements of greatness. Some of them are excellent stories, but these, though adequately, are not beautifully written. gome are exquisitely polished, but are not stories at all : they are studies and lack point and plot. Mr. Martin Armstrong's " Sombrero," for instance, which tells of a sailor marooned on a desert island, holds the interest until the last page. Sus- pense is maintained, but all far nothing : there is no denoue- ment. Mr. David Garnett's " A Russian Story," though delightfully written, falls equally flat: Among the few exceptions are : " The Dancers," by Eric Linklater ; " A Man of Letters," by Sir Squire Sprigge ; " The Child," by H. E. Bates ; and The Escape," by E. H. Lacon Watson. These are all real stories, cleverly constructed and well written. All the tales in the book are readable, but we hope that style and story may make a happier marriage in nineteen-thirty.