6 JANUARY 1912, Page 35

Maids' Honey. By Mrs. Henry Dudeney. (W. Heinemann. Cs.) —The

reader will be left with a sordid and unpleasant impression on his mind when he turns the last page of Mrs. Dudeney's new novel. The writing of the book is as usual exceedingly able, but the whole story is dingy and grey, and the final portion of the book, in which the middle-aged heroine, Sarah Peacock, longs for the death of her exasperating cousin, Amy Budd, recalls tho situation in "Rosmersholm." Sarah is quite convinced that sho has in effect murdered her cousin; but there seems no ground. for this belief, as Amy's condition of health and final disease appear to be quite unconnected with Sarah's suggestive thoughts There is really too much talk of biliousness in the novel. The author retails Amy's constant and revolting symptoms no doubt with the object of disgusting the reader with her character, but she succeeds in disgusting him with the novel itself. The two characters who perpetually discuss their health are too much like the old man of Vienna " who lived upon tincture of senna, ; When that did not agree he took camomile tea," a proceeding which Lear very rightly characterizes as • " nasty." Mrs. Dudeney's clouds seldom have a silver lining,. and the one which broods over Sarah Peacock is no exception to the rule.