Kay Derrick is the heroine of Sam the Sudden. When we first meet her, it is in a photograph which had been torn from a magazine and pinned to the wall of a fishing hut, the third on the left as you enter Canada, from where it was rescued by Sam Shotter. In the photograph, in which she is wearing hunting costume and standing beside her horse, she appears as a trim, boyish-looking girl of about eighteen, slightly above the medium height.

By the time we are introduced to the real Kay, she is four years older and though, as Sam is not slow to notice, she has gained appreciably in looks, she has lost both her parents, to become — like Sam — an orphan. Left penniless and homeless on the death of her father, she now lives with her uncle, Matthew Wrenn, and works as a paid secretary-companion to Mrs Winnington-Bates, a demanding old lady with a worm of a son.

Not being short of male admirers — who include the aforementioned worm, Claud Winnington-Bates, and her childhood friend, J Willoughby Braddock — Kay is inclined to dismiss Sam's attentions, and as, indeed, offended by his impetuous approach. But as the story progresses, her attitude changes (as, indeed, we all knew it would!) and the story ends with their engagement.


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