1 OCTOBER 1921, Page 21

READABLE NOVELS. —The Sleuth of St. James's Square. By Melville

Davisson-Post. (Appleton. 8s. 6d. net.)—To those who like the species even' the mediocre in detective stories is often acceptable. The discoveries on the part of Sir Henry Marquis, an imaginary Chief of the Investigation Department of Scotland Yard, if they escape mediocrity, unfortunately escape also, by some failure of inspiration, inclusion in the category of stories capable of keeping the reader out of bed,—The By Annie Luden. (Holden and Hardingham. 7s. 6d. net.)— An interesting story of the Dutch sea-coast, containing a most moving description of a great flood, when the dyke burst and the storm gates also failed to play their part.—Ashes to Ashes. By Isabel Ostrander. (Hurst and Blackett. 8s. 6d. net.)—A remarkably powerful story of a series of murders and their detection. A man murders his wife in a fit of jealous anger. In the effort to conceal his crime he is led on to commit a second murder and to attempt a third. In this last attempt he is foiled by his intended victim, who is able to convict him of both his former crimes. The mental processes of the villain are admirably worked out.—The Ways of Laughter. By Harold Begbie. (Hutchinson. 85. 6d. net.)—A dryaadust professor is persuaded by an elderly bachelor to embark upon a kind of rake's progress, accompanied by his unsophisticated daughter. The

story of the daughter's subsequent sophistication is tragic enough, and well told, and the elderly bachelor is given an opportunity to justify his existence.—Satan. By H. Do Vero Stacpoole.

(Hutchinson. 8s. 6d. net.)—Exceedingly wild adventures amongst the islands of the tropics. What the reader is sure to want most to know is how Jude and Ratcliffe's experiment worked

out on land, but that, unfortunately, Mr. Stacpoole does not tell us.—Ivory and Apes. By Mrs. Evan Nepean. (John

Bale and Sons. 7s. 6d. net.)—There is very little new material in Mrs. Nepean's second Stuart novel to distinguish it from her first. The same figures people the Restoration stage, although more prominence is given to Nell of Old Drury and less to Monmouth than was the case in My Two Kings. The personality of Charles II. is effectually obscured by romantic sentiment in both books.—The Pleasant Husband, and other Stories. By

Marjorie Bowen. (Hurst and Blackett. 8s. 6d. net.)—These stories reveal the author of The Viper of Milan and other lurid tales in a somewhat fresh light. There is the same brilliant colouring, the same sense of the dramatic, but the shading is finer and the material in most instances far more deftly handled In "The Pleasant Husband" this development is strongly marked, though that story has undoubtedly certain char- acteristics in common with Miss Bowen's earlier work. But in "The Wall" and in "The Confession of Floris Heenvliet" we encounter something of a different quality altogether.— Intensity. By Constance L. Smith. (Melrose. 6s. net.)—When the reader is told that the whole action of this story takes place between the early forenoon and six o'clock in the evening of the same day he will realize that in one sense at least the title is appropriate to the book. But the intensive method has its drawbacks, and in spite of fairly clear delineation of character and at least one genuinely dramatic situation, the presentment of the heroine, at any rate, would appear to have suffered from an over-application of heat in the incubatory stages.