14 AUGUST 1880, Page 21

A Cruel Secret. By Lolo. (Tinsley Brothers.)—That a heroine's brother

has murdered a man, and that there is a fascinating Polish Count who is aware of the fact, may be regarded as awkward, to say the least of it. When the fascinating Polish Count, in possession of the secret of the murder, wishes to marry the criminal's sister, who wishes to marry somebody else, while the relatives of somebody else are reasonably anxious that he should wed a fair cousin with £8,000 a year, the situation rises to the very awkward stage. When the heroine and her mother, once a singer, but who has lost her voice, are so poor that the heroine sells her golden hair to procure milk and fresh eggs for her invalid parent, things might be said to be most awkward. Through these stages does A Cruel Secret pass, to the blissful climax of the heroine's marriage with the young gentleman whose relatives wish him to wed the fair cousin with £8,000 a year ; to the discomfiture of the Polish Count, by the facile expedient of the young murderer's suicide when he finds that his sister has betrayed him for purely selfish motives ; and to the attempted suicide of the sister, who is withheld by her lover from throwing herself into the Thames. We all know how perfectly natural it is that a young man of fashion should be strolling on one of the bridges after midnight, just in time to rescue the lady. No one in the story seems to have the slightest idea of principle, or the most elementary sense of duty ; and the tone of the book is such as we cannot believe pervades any kind of society.