This is a disappointment after Days of the Trumpet and Old Haven. The only link Benefit Street shows with the earlier books is that in all three the best character drawing is that of an old woman. In Benefit Street Penny McGuire, the landlady of a somewhat questionable rooming house in Providence, is the only person who redeems the cast of characters from deserving the fate some of them suffered in extinction in the famous New England hurricane of September '38. Penny is a body -- I liked her. But deliver me from the homos and perverts and gamblers and pretty ladies and drunks and cheats -- I don't like them. Perhaps De Jong had to get this out of his system, but it suits him illy, and adds nothing to his stature.