The author of some fairly frisky novels (Jack Be Nimble--1963; Bright Day, Dark Runner--1964) now uses a sort of heightened innuendo to startle and bemuse. The center of the action in these stories is a tony department store where in one, the manager edges into a brief affair with a buyer during a business trip and is about to congratulate himself on his discretion, when he realizes that his wife has known all along. In a later story his wife enters a reducing spa where her compulsive cheating leads to a strange trial. Then there's the confrontation between an up-tight salesman and a seedy Negro woman; the odd trio which sets the store gossips buzzing; and the lacerating silence which drives a woman buyer over the brink. . . . The author's low-keyed, almost intimidating intimacy makes these seem quite real even if you won't like the characters sufficiently to feel any' concern.