Readers who recall the self-satisfied sagacity of Amelia Butterworth, as evidenced in the unravelling of the mystery of That Affair Next Door, will be grateful to the creator of that worthy spinster for the invention of this 'second episode.' In Lost Man's Lane the author shows that she has lost none of her cunning in inventing an intricate and absorbing plot, and in unfolding it carefully bit by bit by the agency of her chosen hero or heroine.
We have once more the friendly rivalry of Amelia Butterworth and Mr. Gryce, the aged detective inspector, working towards the same end--the solution of the mystery which gave the lane its name, and which made it to be shunned by nearly all the inhabitants of the village.
"Indeed, I think you have not fully taken in the case," he urged in quiet superiority. "The people there are of the higher order of country folk. Many of them are of extreme refinement. One family"--here his tone changed a trifle--"is poor enough and cultivated enough to interest even such a woman as yourself."
"Indeed!" I ejaculated, with just a touch of my father's hauteur to hide the stir of curiosity his words naturally evoked.
"It is in some such home," he continued with an ease that should have warned me he had started on this pursuit with a quiet determination to win, "that the clue will be found to the mystery we are considering. Yes, you may well look startled, but that conclusion is the one thing I brought away with me from--X., let us say. I regard it as one of some moment. What do you think of it?"
"Well," I admitted, "it makes me feel like recalling that pish I uttered a few minutes ago. It would take a woman of uncommon characteristics to assist you in this mat