MacLean's lone but worthy short-story collection contains some of his finest as well as tritest writing. A jejune piece-such as ""St. George and the Dragon,"" retained apparently for padding, deserved to be deep-sixed. It's a romance between a doctor on his cruiser who runs into a barge captain on her barge in the Upper Dipworth canal. Much less embarrassing is MacLean's prize-winning tale, ""The Dileas,"" in which an old captain takes his fishing boat out into a terrifying storm to attempt the rescue of passengers from a sunken ferry. Best however are the hardly fictional straightforward accounts of sea disasters, ""The Sinking of the Bismarck,"" ""The Arandora Star,"" and ""The Jervis Bay."" The Bismarck piece, quite long, is the collection's most impressive, though its journalistic tone is far from distinguished. The book is capped with a little stab at reviewers by MacLean from the financial mountaintop of his present success. He doesn't read reviews and classes ""fiction book reviewers along with the pundits who run what it pleases them to term 'writing schools,' ""and he feels no responsibility whatsoever towards them. This isn't so wrongheaded when your career has had the vast dips from competence to--would the word be ""bilge""?--and back to competence that MacLean's has had.