A collection of short stories, delicate, continental, clever -- and often saturnine. Not for the most part action stories, but rather portraits, vignettes, episodes, with a sudden, unexpected turn. There's something of Henry James -- something of DeMaupassant -- sophistication, elegance, perspicacity, irony. Many backgrounds for a varied collection in which we liked best Defeat, the French officer who returned home after the recent capitulation, Pompey And Some Peaches, about an artist and his wife, and Shadow Play, three young French girls. Fine writing, perhaps too fine for popular tastes.