Books: Armigerent

THE AMAZON—Elliot Paul—Liveright ($2.50).

Author Paul tells this fantastic story as if it had happened to himself,and so plausibly that it ceases to appear fantastic. The narrator, a U. S.newspaperman in Paris, gets into talk with another ex-U. S. soldierin a café, and hears a strange yarn about a signalling detachment of 40women who managed to get up to the front. Their commander, LieutenantAlberta Snyder, had drilled them into a fine body of women. During thedrive against the Hindenburg Line they did yeoman service at the fieldtelephones; an infuriated but harassed commanding officer allowed themto stay. Some of them were killed; their lieutenant was captured by theGermans.

At this point the narrator is recalled to the U. S., but there he doessome detective work. From Alberta’s mother on Cape Cod, from the WarDepartment, from a Boston War veteran who has married one of theamazons, he picks up more of Lieutenant Alberta’s story. In the filesof the War Department he is agreeably astonished to find records ofher. “When first I told Colonel Cole that I was trying to trace a womanwho had served in the signal corps, I had been pleased that he showedno surprise. After I became better acquainted with him I realized hewould have felt no amazement if I had asked him about a troop ofllamas. He was willing to believe that anything might have happened inthe A. E. F.”

Back in Europe again, he unearths the last missing clue to Alberta’sfate, and finally discovers her in Paris. By this time he is in lovewith her, although they have never exchanged a word. But when he meetsa German War ace who has been looking frantically for her, and withwhom she is really in love, he does an inconspicuous Sidney Carton, andleaves them together.

Author Elliot Paul is advisory editor of transition and has dedicatedhis book to Her Upsettledness Gertrude Stein (famed maker of verbalcrazy quilts); but he has written it in the good old-fashioned way. Anative of Massachusetts, he is the author of a bill against censorshipintroduced in the State Legislature by Senator Henry Parkman Jr. lastDecember. His other books: Indelible, Impromptu, Imperturbe, Low RunTide, Lava Rock.

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