Books: Three-Decker

CLARA REEVE

by LEONIE MARGRAVE 442 pages. Knopf. $8.95.

This season's most agreeable literary game is the counterfeiting of Victorian novels. From Brian Moore (The Great Victorian Collection) to Michael Crichton (The Great Train Robbery), no artificer plays the game more entertainingly than the writer who calls herself Leonie Hargrave. The pseudonym, notes the publisher coyly, "may be said to be the Maiden Name of an author both prolific and much praised for work in other modes."

Other modes, indeed: card sharping? bunco artistry? Hargrave's mischievous novel Clara Reeve purports to be the memoir...

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