Max Beerbohm (1872 - 1956) was a British caricaturist and parodist. As a young man he was considered quite the wit and spent much time in London society. By 35 he was middle aged and a bit dull. Beerbohm was drama critic for the Saturday Review and later did broadcast radio work. A V Laider is an excellent example of leg pulling in literature. The reader is on the verge of horror when the narrator mockingly lets the reader down. The story is masterfully told from the gray arrival at the hotel to the railway accident which was foretold in the palms of several passengers. A V Laider is an amateur palm reader who sees an impending accident, but lacks the courage to warm his friends who are about to board the train.