A group of short stories have for the most part a southern setting and a constant in their concern with relationships which are out of kilter. In most of them you can cherchez la mom-devouring or denying, and the moment of truth is apt to be an ugly revelation. There are some brutal pieces, from the childless Goddess of Mercy, who finds in a foster child another cause to gratify her vanity, to the wicked title story, wisely placed at the end of the collection. There is the woman of sixty who is harmlessly insane after her father-fixated childhood has led her to repudiate her husband, possess her son; the man who wants to take his life only to realize that it has already been taken- by his mother; the undertaker who after years of marriage to a woman he hates reconstructs the face of the woman he had once loved- with that of his wife; the moving You'll Be Late For Supper in which a boy, brought up in silenced houses where first his father, then his grandfather, lay dying, realizes he will always be alone, etc., etc. An eye here- for the emotional deadspots in lives which have been vitiated- these stories have a psycho-sexual potency and horror. They are not however for conservative tastes or sensibilities.