Books: Pluck & Poignancy

IKE RAINBOW AND THE ROSE (310 pp.)— Nevil Shute— Morrow ($3.95).

There are two kinds of authors — those who write better than they plot and those who plot better than they write. With his 22nd novel, Veteran Nevil Shute again proves himself one of the best practitioners of Group 2. Shute's surefire system is to take some typical or moving theme —nuclear fallout in On the Beach, race prejudice in The Chequer Board, homeless children in Pied Piper. He weaves in plenty of stirring incidents and peoples his pages with strongly sympathetic, highly moral characters who land deep in a pit...