22 JULY 1927, Page 37

Fiction

THE BARKRY WITCH. By Anthony Richardson. (Constable. IA. 8d.)—" Dank " is the adjective that most nearly describes Mr. Anthony Richardson's new novel. It is totally unrelieved by humour and is most depressing reading from beginning to end, even though the heroine marries ay (presumably) lives happily ever after. Mrs. de Feval, who is known to the villagers as " The Barbary Witch," lives with her two daughters, one illegitimate and the other semi-imbecile, in an isolated cottage in the heart of the downs. She haS a doubtful past and a box full of love letters to console het', but her daughters have nothing to ease the monotonous squalor of their lives except occasional visits from their half- brother. It is when he brings a man friend to stay in the desolate house that the story really begins. Mr. Richardson is a master of atmosphere and a clever writer. But his atmosphere is so terribly thick and gloomy that it is impossible to see his characters clearly, and they appear like grey shadows moving through a heavy blight. The book is as depressing as many a Russian novel.