This is one of those stories which has a haunting quality almost indefinable in its appeal. Against a fascinating background of 18th century Lima is told the romance of a monk of the third order, living a degraded life in the city gutters and writing his bits of verse deriding the local characters and making caustic commentary on the seamy side of life. The one gleam in his life is Micaela Villegas, dancer and mime, now favorite of the governor, now discarded by a fickle populace who called her La Perricholi (readers of Bridge of San Luis. Rey will recall her). The story is told through old records, contemporary letters and diaries, and bit by bit the pieces fall into place. It is an absorbing glimpse of an unfamiliar way of life -- not easy reading because of the shift in focus as different contemporaries add their bits of evidence to create a whole. Even at the end, the reader is left to fill in many gaps for himself. A book that wont sell on its own momentum, but that could readily become a ""booksellers' find"", given the attention of those who like to create sales of unusual books.