Nat Gould

His life and books

A Dead Certainty

First published in 1900 by Routledge. Reprinted in 1935 and 1954.

It was made into a film in 1920.

Pat Royston, daughter of a rich Australian squatter and a deceased English mother, has been educated in England by Helen Woodruff, an old friend of her mother. On holiday at Bettws-y-coed in Wales, they meet an angler Arthur Dunbar, who owns an estate near Scarborough called Glen Royal, and a racing stable at Middleham. Recently his horses have had little success, and Arthur now needs "a dead certainty" with his best horse Whirlwind to recoup his losses. Arthur has fallen in love with Pat, but has made enemies of Maud Bexley and her villainous brother Hector, who are determined to thwart Arthur's romantic aspirations. Pat's father, the unscrupulous Henry Royston, arrives in England. Prevented in carrying out his plans by Arthur, he plots revenge, aided by the Bexleys. The events centre on the outcome of a dramatic race at Chester.

A good story, with several unexpected twists, grippingly told. The characters are well rounded, and the scenes - especially the dramatic episodes at Bettws and Chester - are very convincing. A really good read ! (TA)