The sub-title reads:- ""The Eccentric Life of Alexander Cruden."" -- That seems to be putting it mildly -- ""or possibly it should be reversed and read:- ""The Life of the Eccentric Alexander Cruden."" What a strange person he was, this little Scotsman of the 18th century, whose Concordance is known today to every student of the Bible. Miss Olivier, known to a steadily widening public as the author of The Love Child and Dwarf's Blood, has turned to biography for the first time, and true to her traditions as an original, she has handled what might seem the subject for a brief paragraph in an encyclopedia of names, with wit and skill and subtle charm. Against a lightly etched background of his period, with all its foibles, she has drawn a character alternately absurd and tragic, and yet distinguished by dignity and a zeal for strange crusades. Alexander Cruden had as an ultimate goal the reformation of the morals of England. If -- en route -- he happened to prepare a great Concordance, or to take the position of French reader to a nobleman, in spite of the fact that his reading consisted of spelling, letter by letter, the text before him, or to upset a number of women, worthy and unworthy, by forcing his persistent courtship upon them, -- all of this was by the way. The madhouse, too, played its part. And the jails and law courts saw him frequently. A strange subject -- not in itself apt to create a demand for the book, but the handling is so extraordinarily brilliant that it may just happen to strike that elusive market controlled by ""snob appeal"". Probably most of you have a few customers as a start, in any case.