Books: All About Knowing

ACCIDENT by Nicholas Mosley. 192 pages. Coward-McCann. $4.

Iris Murdoch (A Severed Head) has put readers on warning that novels by Oxford philosophy dons are apt to baffle as well as entertain. The same warning applies to Accident, by Nicholas Mosley (who is, coincidentally, the son of Sir Oswald Mosley, former chief of the British Union of Fascists), which is about an Oxford philosophy don, and which raises the art of the intellectual tease to the level of mild torture. There is no doubt that in Accident a fictional design of subtlety and distinction has been attempted. But it is a literary...