21 APRIL 1866, Page 22

A Casual Acquaintance. A Novel founded on fact. By Mrs.

Daus- Hardy. 2 vols. (Sampson Low, Son, and Marston.)—The whole interest of this novel centres in a murder and the proceedings of a French de- tective who tracks the criminal. These are described with considerable ingenuity, and several melodramatic situations are cleverly contrived ; those who like this sort of thing will be pleased enough with the second volume. But there is nothing else in the novel ; the principal personages talk affectedly and act absurdly, and nobody can care what becomes of them. The plot is very simple ; we soon see the necessity of the murder, and we know what the end will be ; in an English novel nunquam' " antecedentem scelestum. Deseruit pede pcena claudo." Of course we must not enter into the particulars of the crime ; that would be to destroy the charm of the work for the readers who are likely to be in- duced by our description,- to seek in fiction what they-really are amply provided with in the columns of the daily papers.