A lifeless, lackluster rendering of the classic come-hither tale. The text begins, prosily: ""A long time ago, there was a terrible problem in the town of Hamelin""; and comes to a dead halt at the end of almost every sentence thereafter. The accompanying pen drawings--on a buff background--might be described as tasteful (in a scratchy, quasi-Old Master way) if they were meant as depictions of period dress; that, indeed, is where the eye rests--not, for instance, on the rats underfoot. Diamond has no more feel for narrative illustration, unfortunately, than she has for storytelling. An inert Pied Piper may be hard to imagine, but this is it.