Roditi's practiced skills fan out here exotically, as you might expect when dealing with the Golden Horn, the Bosphorous, sultans and seraglios, the Orient Express, rug merchants--but there's an augmenting ribaldry and impressive knowledge that make these sweetmeats very pleasant indeed. Whether the focus is on Infidels, Levantine Jews, or the Faithful, there's always a twist, a grotesquerie, thrown in to make the unusual and time-out-of-mind atmosphere a little more than merely quaint. A rich man's portrait gallery consists of paintings solely of his mistresses' buttocks; strange sorceries transfer the curse of a giant hemorrhoid from the lowliest palace guard to the Sultan himself; a Calvinist girl-governess from Switzerland ends up marrying a Stamboul eunuch. It's gauzy goods, snipped into small swatches, but each of these tales, set ""where the continents of Asia and Europe so timidly refrain from joining in a true lover's kiss,"" is a bright color all its own. A slight but limber book of wisps.