Books: Huckster Hindu

THE MYSTIC MASSEUR (215 pp.)—V.S. Naipaul—Vanguard ($3.50).

In his two-story concrete mansion in Fuente Grove, Trinidad, Mystic Ganesh Ramsumair, B.A., sat in the lavatory pondering his future. When he plucked nervously at the toilet paper, a cunning mechanism tripped, and a music box tinkled out Yankee Doodle Dandy. In that moment of revelation, the book that was to secure Ganesh's fame was born. He thought of the title later: Profitable Evacuation.

The character thus introduced by Novelist Naipaul (rhymes with highball) belongs to that growing family of ex-colonial heroes who have their feet firmly planted in the muck of local tradition and their...