Books: Disbelief on a Gibbet

A DANCER IN DARKNESS (247 pp.)—David Stacton—Pantheon ($3.95).

The prose of David Stacton is like that of no other writer. It suggests a corridor in a dark Gothic tower, ill-lit by tapers, at one end of which a gong sounds incessantly. Stacton's gong clashes are malevolent aphorisms, asides spoken to Nemesis, hard little explanations of motive.

Four toughs burst by night into the palazzo of a cardinal, who "looked up irritably. His ambitions had scooped him out like a melon. There was no one left inside to be taken by surprise . . ."A man...

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