Grumley's hushed sketches of people who go to work after the daytime crowds are safely tucked in their beds, conjure up the mystique of ""night people."" They have, one gathers, their silent, guarded reasons; their biorhythms and their souls recoil from the light. The assortment Grumley picks is as diverse as can be: the girls in mesh stockings who dispense ersatz glamour in the Vegas casinos; an aging shrimp fisherman on the South Carolina coast; the all-night crew at a metropolitan hospital; a San Francisco minister who caters to the street people and strays of the Tenderloin; a wee-hours Chicago D.J. who runs a dating service for the lovelorn; a young woman who tends baby animals in the San Diego zoo nursery. Have they anything in common? Very little, it seems, apart from Grumley's infatuation with the night. He knows how to set a mood--""New Yorkers gather at night in neon-lit pools, like exotic deep-water fish"" but, that done, he has no place to take his frozen-in-time characters, and his mannered, inert prose style soon palls. Still, the consolations of darkness have attracted scores of writers and Grumley will find a cozy spot in the ""hello darkness, my old friend"" tradition.