Neil Millar

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 141

"Black Dougal" announces itself as "a novel that proves crime pays." It proves nothing of the sort—although it may help, in a small way, to increase the crime rate.

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But it does show how the corset of popularity can limit a genuine talent. Mr. Walker could give us far better things than this.

The writing is discreet, the touch light, the tension sustained. The story moves along. But it's a yarn for mature-age schoolboys who ought to know better. The plot is so loose that the author's talent falls right through it.

Nevertheless, the talent is still visible, like a stored garden bulb. All it needs is a better plot to flower it.

Neil Millar, "Nature," in The Christian Science Monitor (reprinted by permission from The Christian Science Monitor; © 1974 The Christian Science Publishing Society: all rights reserved), February 13, 1974, p. F5.

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