There's a rather nightmare quality to this unexpected story by Kay Boyle, but it is the sort of nightmare that turns more on a few too many glasses of Pernod and that is paced by the lifting and setting down of a glass. For one who had high hopes of the Kay Boyle of Plagued by the Nightingale and Year Before Last, her development has been disappointing. She has sustained her crystal quality, but it has become brittle. Her longer books seem thin, lacking in reality. Her characters are wraithlike. Her concentration on the gutter side of life is unpleasant. This new book has these weaknesses, though there is more sense of plot, a solving of a mystery by innuendo rather than incident. She is an artist -- but not the artist we feel she might become.