The particular talents of Shirley Jackson are shown off to even greater advantage in this collection of short stories (some from the New Yorker) than in her last year's The Road Through The Wall. For here the sharp and unsparing commentary on the human scene, in often inhuman interchanges, narrows and gains in precision in this medium. The incidents, while derived from very ordinary, very everyday experiences, range from New York city life and its impervious impersonality, to country villages and the invidious interference of ""neighbors""; from faded, frustrated women in their thirties who had not married, to those that have- and their children whose cruelty is as yet undisguised; the Jew-haters and the Negro-boycotters. Here is not a pleasant world, and the title story, of a stoning in a rural village, aroused considerable protest -- and praise- at the time of its initial publication. For all the deadly effectiveness of the majority of these, a critical rather than popular audience is indicated.