Time and Chance. By Harold Dearden. (Heinemann. 12S. 6d.) IN
The Wind of Circumstance Dr. Dearden gave a frank and fascinating account of the first thirty years of his life. Time and Chance purports to be a sequel or continuation, but in the event turns out to be more of a scrap-book than an ordered narrative. It begins with a series of extracts from the diary which Dr. Dearden kept when he was M.O. of a Guards battalion at the front in the last war. Like all this author's writings, they are pointed, dramatic and often unforeseen. (Who would expect a neurotic officer in the trenches to produce fresh, if finally inconclusive, evidence as to the identity of Jack the Ripper?) After the war, the doctor had no job and no capital. In a desperate attempt to acquire the latter, he undertook an extravagantly improbable transatlantic adventure on behalf of Mr. Clarence Hatry, and on the proceeds established himself as a consulting psychologist in the West End of London. In this career he was extremely successful, as is here shown by a number of absorbing casebook histories. After the successful production of a play called Interference, Dr. Dearden left Harley Street for Fleet Street, and we leave him vainly endeavouring to rejoin the Army. Even if this volume lacks some of the out- standing qualities of its predecessor, it has proved sufficiently enthralling to hold the attention during the fourth week of May, 1940, and that should be praise enough.