ACT OF LOVE by Celia Dale


Email this review


Not a modern story this time--cf. the grasping fingers of A Helping Hand--but a plump crime passionel with the adjective more resolved than the noun. Almost the kind of story Joseph Shearing used to tell with many pleasant period appointments. Bernard West, an innocent if inflammable twenty-two, takes a post in the country with the children of Mr. Mortimer (self-made, rich, ugly, older and often off to London to drink) and Mrs. Mortimer (lovely, aristocratic, deprecating, enervated). The romance fanned by poetry readings is ultimately consummated although there are the suspicions of the everpresent, unctuous family doctor and the strict surveillance of Milady's maid. One of the children's modest gifts circumstantially betrays them; Bernard is sent packing and ten days later Mr. Mortimer dies suddenly of unnatural causes. Bernard will never know what happened but is ready to pay the penalty. . . . Again an accomplished diversion on a par with, say, Charity Blackstock. Under the lambent romanticism, a slow fuse.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1969
Publisher: Walker