4 MARCH 1876, Page 23

Brandon Tower: a Novel 3 vols. (Samuel Tinsley.)—Wo have no

intention of conducting our readers through the intricacies and convolu- tions of this story. Its hero, as we suppose we must call him, though he is a very poor sort of hero indeed, is Mr. Stephen Applothorn, a prosperous merchant, carrying on his business at Riverburgh, an im- portant son-port within a day's ride of the Border country, wherein Brandon Tower, the ancestral seat of his family, is situated. So dazzling is his prosperity, that he actually becomes town councillor and eventu- ally Mayor of Riverburgb. That he is a man of mystery is made evident very soon, also that he has not his mystery properly under control, for he has a fatuous habit of scribbling a vast quantity of

perfectly unintelligible gibberish In a black pocket-book. Wo do not wonder that he excites the suspicions of an extremely disagreeable detective, one Giffard Pike, a man who is described as "faultless in his

scent of evil-doors; stealthy and soft-footed as a cat, and immovable as a rock." Of course, we know him of old. What our police authori- ties would give for a few of these " unfailing " officers, wo can hardly imagine, but they are among tbo common-places of fiction. The other characters are either tiresome, as in the case of the model omnibus- driver, who turns out opportunely to be boa gentleman in disguise; or offensive, as in the case of the tipsy captain, Jacob Dippy ; or what is equally unpardonable in a novel, perfectly inoffensive, as in the cases of the ladies. one and all, young and old, who figure in this silly and unnatural novel.