The Devil's Mode

Anthony Burgess, Author Random House (NY) $18.95 (290p) ISBN 978-0-394-57670-1
The prolific author's first collection of short stories is a bonbon assortment, a mix of imaginary historical tales and fictional travel pieces. In the most daring story, William Shakespeare, visiting Spain with his troupe, meets an aged, raging Cervantes. In another, French poet Stephane Mallarme, bumming around Dublin with his pal, young Claude Debussy, trades views on art with 77-year-old Robert Browning. ``Hun,'' a long, bloody romp through the crumbling Roman Empire, involves betrayal, murder and intrigue as Roman general Aetius attempts to use fearsome prince Attila as a ``great whip'' against Goths and Visigoths. Two stories deal with Englishmen's fascination with dark female flesh in the tropics. In ``Murder to Music,'' a detective story a la Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes solves a case using a clue the reader may spot early on without being able to decode it. Laced with wit and irony, these sometimes convoluted tales are, at their frequent best, marvels of experiment and imagination. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
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