That's a very strangely worded sentence and may have been badly translated from another language. "Read" is the verb, used in the past tense. If you read someone's face, you figure out their thoughts from their facial expression. Mr. Lorry could tell from looking at the speaker that he would be wasting his time by continuing to discuss the point. "Business eye" suggests that Mr. lorry is a very experienced businessman who is good at assessing other people.