Books: Shindy About Nothing

THE QUIET END OF EVENING

by HONOR TRACY 241 pages. Random House. $6.95.

In a string of novels that began in 1956 with The Straight and Narrow Path, Honor Tracy has made a particular corner of Ireland her own. It might be called County Farce. It lies just this side of the Dire Straits, along the border of Blarney. It is peopled with grotesques, inanimate as well as animate: crumbling mansions where the plumbing has a will—but not a constitution —of iron; a Hereford bull that for reasons of its own sits down in a kitchen, blockading the stove; an alcoholic postman who...