Books: Ring Around the Collar


by JOHN UPDIKE 228 pages. Knopf. $6.95.

After years of dutifully ministering to his flock, the Rev. Thomas Marshfield, 41, begins fleecing the ewes. When his trysts with the church organist and other assorted supplicants are exposed, Marshfield is shipped West for a month's rest to a desert spa for troubled clergymen. The regimen is ecumenical. There is golf in the afternoon, poker at night and daiquiris whenever. Mornings are spent alone at an obligatory typewriter, where orgies of therapeutic confession are the order of the day.

As his 31-day...

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