From the New Yorker, this series of episodes centering around local gin mills, where the boss, the bartender, the waiter, the chef, the handyman, the hackies and customers contribute their share of barroom badinage. These 17 sketches crystallize the incidents, excitements, conversations and arguments this type of drinking spot inspires, stick to the vernacular in parading the late hours of early drinkers, chronicle a new set of big city characters. There are eccentrics, Grogan, the bookmaker, who has a colorful past and varied present; Paddy, the bartender, who saves the handyman's life; the boss, who can bear almost everything, even bums; the kind-hearted truck driver, the special-fare cabby, the fixer; there are slumming parties who have their ""quaint"" thrown back at them; there is a longsuffering landlady, an atheist's accident, etc. etc. Masculine humor and phonographic reproduction give these a special quality of appeal, that is somewhat reminiscent of- but superior to- say, Damon Runyon.