Third of Lee's hitherto impressive Secret Books of Paradys: eight odd tales set in a forgotten French city where magic works and horrid things lurk in dark corners. Here, alas, the atmospheric backdrop of dread and sexual tension has gone missing, leaving only a few ghoulish scraps. Even more sadly, the stories vary widely in quality--indeed some are structurally perfunctory, held together only by Lee's still rich, evocative, limpid prose. The absence of a unifying theme doesn't help. Thus: a vagina with teeth; voodoo; a Typhoid Mary variant; a curse exposed as mere superstition; a supernatural conjuror; and, in a somewhat more satisfying vein, an intriguing Lost World variant, a vengeful woman artist, and a vampire-harpy betrayed by her lover. Slight and disappointingly mediocre fare after splendid work (The Book of the Beast, 1991) last time out.