Another warm and humane collection of narratives, eight in all, derived from psychoanalyst Weinberg's Manhattan practice. Like a compassionate detective, Weinberg (The Taboo Scarf, 1990, etc.) approaches his patients with dedication and sympathy, finding the psychological clues and undemanding necessary to give each the benefit of the doubt--even when the case involves a self-absorbed ""nonentity"" fixated on strangling his nine-year-old niece so as to remove her as competition for his brother's affections. A colorful, classy cast of characters emerges, among them a fellow analyst whom Weinberg meets at an exclusive backgammon club and whom he observes undergoing a dreadful transformation in his gambling habits when his professional reputation is ruined. While each story unfolds according to formula, with a problem stated and examined step by step until its causes are known, the individuals and their situations are sufficiently varied to prevent tedium. Twins with opposite personalities are found to have grown apart over a childhood incident involving their ne'er-do-weft father; an elderly woman basking in memories of her youthful tennis victories is persuaded to put aside the racket she carries with her everywhere; and, in the oddest tale of all, a rising young stand-up comic stops hearing voices when her dental work is altered so that her mouth no longer functions as a primitive radio. Not every case ends so well, but Weinberg's abiding concern for his patients is pervasive. Vivid, enlightening, and sure to charm anyone curious about our fragile human vessels and those who try to keep them afloat.