2 JANUARY 1904, Page 30

The Motor Pirate. By G. Sidney Paternoster. (Chatto and Windus.

Bs. 6d.)—It is, of course, permissible for a novel which is frankly a " shocker " to be a little thin in quality. A " shocker " must have one startling idea, which must be developed as nearly in the first chapter as possible, and this The Motor Pirate has. What the book has not is the power of keeping up this sensation all through the course of the story. And this is where many " shockers " fail, it being obviously easier to invent one sensation than to carry an elaborate trail of excitement from cover to cover. The first two or three manifestations of the Motor Pirate are interesting; but when his identity is a secret to no one but the hero of the book and the police, matters become a little monoto- nous for the reader. Also the discovery that the Motor Pirate is a lunatic is disillusioning, people who are bad being far more interesting than people who are mad. Still, there is a good deal of " go" about the story, and we may all of us be thankful not to meet the gentleman who fills the title-r6le when proceeding along a country lane after darkness has fallen.