Ever since The Straight and Narrow, Honor Tracy has been faulted for never having written as successful a satire. Sometimes she relies on preposterous situations and outrageous characters so that, even though motivated by a message of sorts, her novels somersault into farce. Still there are enough funny moments here to gratify her following and satisfy her critics. Take Timothy Beauchamp, once (four years ago) a best-selling author who decides to become a writer in residence at Fuggles Mill where he will pen his autobiography in rural dignity and tranquillity. Then there's his wife, Delilah, whose bohemania runs to helterskelter enterprises and people--people. Timothy's isolation in his study is interrupted at all times: by Delilah and the characters she collects; by their char; by the Frosches, from America, Kentucky, (and he's usually on the sauce) with all sorts of dazzling offers; and in one of the funniest scenes, by the visitation of a little cultural club, the Daughters of Minerva. All of this is handled with cheerful aplomb, and Timothy, diddled by his retinue, harried by his debtors, put upon, put down, is a sitting duck while Miss Tracy plucks all his pinfeathers. Men at Work's a playful endeavour.