An old writer's toys,"" as Mr. Priestley says, pleasant playthings consisting of two novellas and one very short story in which a man, planning to cheat his mother and wife after chatting them up, finds himself really going down, down, down on the ""Underground""--a softshoe horror story which might remind you of his famous play, An Inspector Calls. The other two both feature magician/charlatans of sorts. In the title story the ultimate major-domo appears from nowhere to serve as cook, psychiatrist, and all-purpose fixer-upper among the many roles in his acting repertory. The 19th century ""Pavilion of Masks,"" while ringing small changes, as Priestley suggests, for the modern world, is a fantasy-romance-satire about a politician and a poet and a seductive woman which proves, if anything, that women are less self-deluded than men and that ""Hardly anybody ever believes the exact truth."" Which may be the validation for this kind of perishable amusement where the sleight of hand, however practiced, suggests that there's not too much up the sleeve.