The author of the Pulitzer Prize play, Street Scene, writes his first novel which might be called Park Avenue Scene (using Park Avenue symbolically). Melodrama, played out against New York's many faceted life, with a prominent social register family high-lighted through its various members. The mother is a dipsomaniac; the eldest son hides a secret passion for drink, and escapes observation under the care of his mistress and valet; the second son is a left wingish college professor; the third son is a bounder who pulls the Harry Thaw stunt; the daughter in mature life, marries a youth who is a homosexual. The minor characters are more or less normal people, cross-sectioning the stage, the industrial life, department stores, society. A sordid picture, sensationally handled, but with little relief and no humor. The characters are cardboard, the situations machinemade, but Rice has a keen sense of drama, unerring instinct for sustained interest, and a mastery of detail that fascinates. The book is being played up for big sales, and is sure to get a good deal of publicity. Headed for popular success.