Books: Notable

THE RAINBIRD PATTERN by VICTOR CANNING 244 pages. Morrow. $6.95.

The engaging villain, sympathetic in his evil, is at least as old as Milton's Satan. But Victor Canning, a master craftsman of English thrillers, has managed to conjure up a variation. He is Edward Shoebridge, a saturnine hunter, a falconer who feels pollution and plastic closing in and coldly uses crime to raise the money to escape to some rustic Scandinavian fortress. His business is kidnaping high political figures in impeccable style. He takes his ransom in uncut diamonds.

Canning's story is brisk, but...

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