Books: Infernal Triangle

MONSIEUR by LAWRENCE DURRELL 305 pages. Viking. $8.95

Lawrence Durrell has always made better sound than sense, but his cadenzas are so splendidly overripe (the effect being that of Berlioz played by an orchestra of gondoliers) that his novels have not suffered in the least. They are clever, evocative, atmospheric and essentially unserious.

Monsieur is no exception. The au thor of the lush and intricate Alexandria Quartet here invents a novelist named Blanford, who invents a novelist named Sutcliffe, who caricatures Blanford mercilessly as "Bloshford," a bestselling hack. The book is one of those...

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