IN offering a series of stories which continue the adventures of a group of characters already introduced to the reading public, a writer is inevitably at a certain disadvantage. In contriving their first appearance he has been able to select both the occasion and the moment which lend themselves most effectively to his plan. He has begun at the beginning--or, at least, at what, so far as you and he and the tale he has to tell are concerned, must be accepted as the beginning. Buttonholing you at the intersection of these three lines of destiny he has, in effect, exclaimed: My dear Reader! the very man I wished to see. I want to introduce rather a remarkable character to you--Max Carrados, whom you see approaching. You will notice that he is blind--quite blind; but so far from that crippling his interests in life or his energies, it has merely impelled him to develop those senses which in most of us lie half dormant and practically unused. Thus you will understand that while he may be at a disadvantage when you are at an advantage, he is at an advantage when you are at a disadvantage. The alert, slightly spoffish gentleman with the knowing look, who accompanies him, is his friend Carlyle. He has a private inquiry business now; formerly he was a solicitor, but... (here the voice becomes discreetly inaudible)... and having run up across Carrados again... And so on.