Thriller novelist Deighton says it himself in the preface to these alphabetized notes on French ingredients, dishes, chefs, restaurants, and regions, with a few offhand recipes thrown in. It is not, he says, a lexicon nor an encyclopedia, a complete dictionary or even a glossary of culinary French. It is simply ""an edited version of my loose-leaf notebook,"" begun in his art-student days in the Fifties. Even as such, it is disappointing. Deighton seems to have gathered the information from chatting around; and though he has evidently visited the kitchens of an impressive number of first-rate French restaurants, his notebook entries have neither reference value (entries on major foods such as garlic, rice, tomatoes, and bread are especially weak) nor, surprisingly, entertainment value--just random directions, opinions, facts, and banal observations, too few of them either informative or well put.