Books: Un-lrish Restraint

SETTLED IN CHAMBERS by Honor Tracy. 209 pages. Random House. $4.95.

Honor Tracy resembles a particularly mean Irish longshoreman on strike. Her corner-of-the-mouth wit has the fine rollicking belligerence that keeps everyone within eavesdropping distance of the drunk at the end of the bar. But sure, Honor is a bit of a fraud. The fist she brandishes so threateningly is really papier-mache. Her secret problem is that she is a satirist who faints at the sight of blood. Her seventh novel has all the brilliance of an expertly pulled punch.

The target is a particularly...

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