THE SECRET THREAD by Ethel Vance

THE SECRET THREAD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A disappointment for Ethel Vance's readers, in a novel successful neither as a story of adventure, nor as a seeking of a man for his own soul. It is a fuzzy mixture of the two, with the philosophical aspects pretty phony -- yet slowing down action-and the beginning and the end leaving the reader wondering whether the action in between really happened, or whether it was part of a mental breakdown...Terhune, college president and prominent in international affairs, is in Europe on state department business. While there he has a breakdown, and is recalled- and disappears on the day of his landing in New York. The reader follows him in his return to the boyhood home that had become part of his fantasy, and there, finding it about to be torn down, he revisits his attic room, and stumbles on evidence of the operations of dealers in illegal traffic. (The nylons seem to date it a bit!) Belonging to the gang, but not spiritually of it, is Edna, aged 16, for whom this 40-year old intellectual conceives the stabilizing passion of his life. Protecting each other, they are forced apart forever. Terhune matches wits with an old philosopher bum; the gangsters, Gus and Mort turn up, and Gus is assigned to dispose of the old man, while Mort takes care of Terhune. The story ends with that episode a closed book; Terhune hospitalized; and the reader wondering if it is all dream.

Publisher: Harper