Books: Getting and Spending

THE CONNOISSEUR by EVANS CONNELUR. 197 pages. Knopf. $6.95.

A Manhattan insurance executive named Muhlbach is scouting a rival's New Mexico operations. His object is corporate merger, but Muhlbach finds his own independence endangered. In a Taos curio shop, he is transfixed by a terra cotta nobleman. His soft, Prufrockian sensibility struggles briefly to understand the figurine's power. "Does he remind me of myself?" Muhlbach wonders incongruously. No matter. He pays $30 for it and takes the piece to an expert in Albuquerque. The verdict is quick: authentic Mayan, a dark survivor from pre-Columbian...

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