Whimsical adult fantasy. In the National Trust forest behind the housing estate of Elvinwood in Surrey, three irreproachably respectable local citizens are discovered by their neighbor Ian lames participating in the Midwinter celebration of the resident fairies and their visiting overlord Oberon. The only hope for the continuation of the dwindling race is a conspiracy--into which Ian is unwillingly drafted--to swap Mompen, the luckless lastborn of the tribe, for a human child who can be married off to Oberon's still-lusty Puck. When the changing-spell provided by the malicious Merlin proves to be an elaborate double-cross, Ian rises to the occasion with the only sacrifice that can appease all parties. Haldeman did nice things with the religious-miracle tale form in The Star of the Sea (p. 324). Here she occasionally strays into mawkish excess but more often combines a restrained sweetness and a nice crisp bite after the manner of a good Jonathan apple; if elf-land is your territory, let Haldeman be your guide.