3 MAY 1930, Page 31

WHILE THE PATIENT SLEPT. By M. G. Eberhart. (Heinemann. 7s.

6d.)—The events with which this winner of the 1930 Scotland Yard Prize deals are described by the nurse who was in charge of -old Mr. Federie—an amazing woman who seems quite naturally to have taken both day and night duty. Her off-times were spent either in searching for clues or, worse still, between the devil and the deep sea, on a step-ladder between the attic, which held unknown perils, and the trunkroom in which she could hear someone moving. In this both aesthetically and emotionally awful house—a fit setting for the strange happenings which took place—there had collected the remnants of the family Federie, a sometime highwayman gang, and some hangers-on. The whole plot circles round the unconscious figure of the head of the house and his little green jade elephant. We have only one fault to find with this absorbing mystery story : that the nurse cannot resist commenting on the events she is describing with an inside knowledge of their real significance, a knowledge which the reader naturally does not share unless he has broken every rule of the game and peeped at the end of the book. Otherwise, the story makes excellent reading.