Published in France in 1949 under the pseudonym ""Sally Mara,"" Queneau's very literary send-up of the sex-and-sadism thriller elicited little popular response--which isn't hard to understand as one reads it now in Wright's cute English translation. The story is sheer barn-blare and bang-bang: IRA insurrectionists in 1916 storm Dublin's Eden Quay post office and get rid of the staff; but they miss (and are thereafter stuck with) sexy clerk Gertie Girdle, who's in the Ladies' lay at the time of the takeover; and so Gertie becomes the cool instigator of the sexually insecure rebels' doom. Queneau tries to transform this material by trivializing the violence: the spilt blood eventually registers with no more impact than ketchup. He mocks hard-boiled clichÃ‰s: "" 'Which one of us? ' asked Callinan, in a pale voice. 'Caffrey!' declared Gallagher, in a dark voice . . . 'That illiterate!' cried medic O'Rourke, in a cadmium-yellow voice. 'Well, shit then!' concluded John McCormack, in an ochre voice."" And he also laces the goings-on with straight-out homage to James Joyce: the IRA men's codeword is ""Finnegans Wake""; the names are lifted from Ulysses; and Gertie is a tighter-lipped but no less potent Molly Bloom. But, with all these efforts, the gore is excessive, the prose self-consciously terse, and the fun-making very broad--making this a very slight, sporadically amusing little jape that's likely to please only a few in-the-know literati.