28 SEPTEMBER 1929, Page 26

BLACK JACK HOUSE. By L. Allen Harker. (Murray. 7s. 6d.)—Readers

who appreciate quiet, dignified, old-fashioned charm will enjoy this characteristic novel by Mrs. Harker. The house of the title is one of those pleasant, double-fronted, stone houses in a cathedral town, and its owners, Ben and Ann Haviell, with whom live their niece Mimi and her small daughter Faith, help to sustain gentility, in these hard times, by taking paying guests. It is thus that John Stanley, a vigorous, Americatuzed engineer, comes into Mimi's life. John is engaged upon a big plumbing contract at. Ferminster Hall, the Elizabethan seat which Lord Wroughton has sold to a nouveau riche purchaser. Faith is the illegitimate child of Lord Wroughton's son, who was killed in the War. Mimi herself is as pretty and insipid as her name ; but Faith inherits her father's decisiveness. She takes an instinctive dislike to John, and prOves a constant source of friction between him and Mimi after their marriage. John and -Mimi, -though genuine enough creations, fail to engage our' sympathy of affection. But some of the subsidiary characters are both natural and charming ; and Faith, with her disconcerting

frankness, is a delightfully fascinating, yet =sentimentalized, child, whose development we follow with keen interest. _