FOUR LOST YEARS
Random Honest. By James Hilton. (Macmillan, 8s. 6d.).
The Blind Mon's House, By Hugh Walpole. (Macmillan, es, 6d.).
Happy Ever After, By Beatrice K. Seymore. (Heinemann, Bs. 6d.).
Seven Tickets to Singapore, By Ared White, (Rich and Cowan, 8s. 6d.).
Reviewed by FRANCIS BURDETT,
R. HILTON manages by good writing and a happy gift of invention to make R.andant Harvest not
only readable but interesting. Its weakness is the improbabilities it contains, which are so glaring, especially at the end, that even the simplest reader must jib at them.
Charles Rainier, son of a wealthy indus
trialist, suffered, as a result of an incident in the last, war, a loss of mensory. Four years remain an impenetrable blank. All is clear up tel the moment when he lost consciousness on the field of battle; all is clear since the moment, four years later, whets he recovered consciousness on a bench in a Liverpool park with a few pounds in his pocket and no ghost of a memory of how he got there or of what had preceded it.
He returns to the family place, a vast and imposing house in Sussex, and receives a tepid welcome. His father lies dying and he is unable to see him. His eldest brother succeeds to the family business and makes a hash of it. Charles, then at Cambridge, unwillingly consents to make an attempt at saving the family fortune. Be develops an unexpected administrative genius, but its success ties him to the business so that his return to Cambridge and a student's life, which he so greatly desired, had to be abandoned. Wealth, political prospects and a moderately happy marriage follow. But he is for ever nagged by the thought of the four lost years. Skilfully, perseveringly, the lost memory is recovered with the aid of a secretary who has become a close friend.
Mr. Hilton's gifts are best shown in the events of those forgotten years when Charles achieved substantial happiness. They make excellent reading and the subsequent disappointment all the greater.
THE Blind Man's House is not likely to rank high amongst the works of Hugh Walpole. It is the study of a rich man who lost his sight. A number of pages are devoted to very doubtful psychological speculations. It is difficult to get interested in either Julius or his young and beautiful wife. they seem to be so completely bogged in false theories or silly situations. The house
keeper almost comes to life. The sinister and unpleasant suggestions, in which the author seems to delight are, perhaps, not sinister and unpleasant enough..to hold our attention. Even the house, an important ingredient in the unrealities of the book, fail'.
Pretentiously dull and shallow.
IJAPPY Ever After is a competent novel
that relates how Brenda married, only to discover that her husband was an inveterate gambler. His gradual deterioration destroyed their love. • She leaves him, in a scarcely creditable manner, so that she could devote herself to her daughter, The daughter, precociously selfish and calculating, exploits her mother's excessive devotion.
In the end Brenda, after a final scene with her husband in which he is killed, retires to her old home in Cumberland. It is all adequately if not very interestingly described.
SEVEN Tickets to Singapore is an Amer.' can story of how a secret weapon that could nullify the terror' of aeroplane warfare was demonstrated to the American Government. But at the crucial moment if it was to remain an American possession, the inventor was killed, the apparatus seized, and his daughter, who alone could work the contraption, was kidnapped by an international gang of ruffians to sell to the highest bidder. An exciting chase follows with many searefying scenes. It is vigorously told.