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Two of Harvard's Novelists

THE BLIND GODDESS, by Arthur Train '96. Charles Scribner's Sons. New York. 1926. $2.00.

By D. C. Backus .

TED formula of mystery is known to everyone. From the boy who tingles at the mention of murder to those rogues of the book world who are weary of the sameness of sudden death, the novel involving crime and courtship, homicide, and happiness, is familiar. Since its plot departs from this head-scratching standard set up by the writers of dectective fiction. "The Blind Goddess" may amuse even experienced cynics Instead of attempting to mystify, the amiable author has Richard Devens, a rich contractor, accidentally shot by Daniel Shay, his friend and business associate, before the eyes of the reader. This subtle flattery is not unappreciated by one accustomed to being hood-winked until the concluding chapter.

Mr. Train's audience has the pleasure of being in the secret, of watching twelve good men and true, a political minded judge, and a mildly dishonest district attorney make utter fools of themselves by contrast with the actions of the upright young lawyer, Hugh Dillone who carries idealism to the verge of idiocy.

Soliloguies of this quixotic hero furnish an opportunity for Mr. Train to describe with libelous detail the worldliness of counts, and the unwieldness of law, At time, Hugh Dillon is a dictaphone upholding 3 "holier than thou" attitude which fits ill with an atmosphere of politics. Again, he degenerates into a likeable person who is tempted to put personal loyalty above an abstract and cold, blooded justice. But like most moralists, Hugh has a stubbornness in his nature which does not admit of compromise. His philosophy will not permit the acceptance of a healing half-truth in place of the rending whole. In spite of the unbending character of his hero, Arthur Train makes an interesting indictment of political chicanery. Although the great god of coincidence may be a trifle overworked, one nevertheless gets the distinct impression that justice is a some-what sottish spirit with a bald, perspiring head and an opportunely winking eye.

Unfortunately for this fictional crusade, it does not escape the standardizing influence of the type of mystery story. In the person of Moria Devens, daughter of the murdered contractor, the inevitable love theme enters to bring the story down to the normal level. By means of this amorous tie, Mr. Train holds his narrative within the bounds which has been plotted out by a host of novelists before him.

Compared with contemporary novels of similar type. "The Blind Goddess" stands well above the average. Judged by the standards Mr. Train sets himself in some chapters, the story is a disappointment. It seems that the love of women ruins books as well as men. But the people who have become accustomed to the concluding closeups of unreal worlds are not disappointed. For the last paragraph submerges with lotus-like caresses any surviving trace of thought-provoking material.

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