The author of The Looking Glass and memorable short stories now returns after a long silence with a strange, semi- satirical tale of a missionary couple in the 19th century and their strange career on an imaginary island of the South Seas. The husband, stolidly convinced of his role of conversion, preaches year in, year out, without avail. His wife, a humorless, self-centered product of restraint and frustration, stumbles on relics archaeologists and anthropologists had sought in vain, zealously unearths more and yet more, and dreading the revelation of their symbolism, consigns them to the islanders' god by throwing them in the volcanic crater. The result is beyond her dreams; she is hailed as high priestess; her husband's meanderings are accepted as part of the worship; mass conversion gives them unmerited fame. There is quiet and often barbed irony in this subtly humorous tale, and those who take it seriously may be offended. An off the beaten track bit- not for every reader.