Nat Gould

His life and books

The Racing Adventures of Barry Bromley

First published by John Long in 1927, this is one of the last trio of posthumous books by Nat Gould. It was reprinted in the late 1930s by Hutchinsons, who had taken over from Long in 1936, in their Leisure Library series.

The story is set in England, chiefly in Lincolnshire. Barry Bromley is a racehorse owner who is living precariously on gambling. He is in love with Hazel Sainton, but is not sufficiently financially secure to propose to her, and has made enemies of a ruthless set of villains. With the assistance of his over-wealthy friend Bruce Arnot and racecourse detective Val Martyn he eventually defeats his enemies and wins his bride.

There are some melodramatic scenes, and although the story grips the reader, it is hard to sympathise with any of the characters. None seems ever to have done an honest day's work in their lives, and are living off gambling and inherited wealth. There is much repetition at the start of the chapters, and the book reads as though re-hashed from a story designed for serial publication in some periodical.

The book ends with two very short stories The Second String and A Dash for the Derby, both set around Melbourne in Australia. Neither contains any surprises, and the first should not be confused with a full-length novel of the same name first published by Everett in 1904. (TA)