Books: Horror Stories

LOOK AT ALL THOSE ROSES—Elizabeth Bowen—Knopf ($2.50).

Most of these 19 stories exhale a cold horror for middle-class English life. As diagnoses of that horror they are sometimes subtle, brilliant, beautifully written; as often supersubtle, over-clever, strangled in preciosity. At best their sinister quality is superb; at worst they deal melodramatically with jilted servants, out-of-season hotels, loveless homes, other social and psychological frigidities so overused that they might almost people a 20th-century, air-conditioned Castle of Otranto. In her almost frantic straining after artistry, Miss Bowen often frustrates her first-rate talent. But she is...

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