Fourteen new stories- after a gap of six years -- reveal one of the most gifted writers of our times in all of her many phases. There is delicate humor here, and occasionally barbed wit; there is imagination, originality, a gift for bringing a figure to life in a few words, and to tell a story with wider implications by capturing a brief moment or incident. Some of the stories turn what might be a predictable pattern into a new mold-for example A Question of Disposal or Randolph. Others depend for their magic on characterization as in the title story, or on the etching of a brief encounter-Youth and the Lady. A gentle approach to madness can have its humor along with its compassion, as in A Dressmaker or A Work of Art; while the ability to laugh at oneself makes a commonplace situation a tale of adventure and suspense -- The Snow Guest. But always- regardless of the matter, it is the manner of the telling that provides its own magic.