cover image The Temptation of Wilfred Malachey

The Temptation of Wilfred Malachey

William F. Buckley, JR.. Workman Publishing, $10.95 (41pp) ISBN 978-0-89480-923-1

Buckley has written his first book for young readers, an original and urbane fantasy listed under Goblin Tales, ""stories of the unexplained.'' The subdued colors in Gurney's pictures reflect the dark doings set afoot by Wilfred Malachey, a newcomer at Brookfield Academy. Wilfred's allowance is small, his parents sacrifice to send him to the boarding school, so he steals to pay for luxuries enjoyed by the well-heeled students. But the discovery of the goblin residing in Brookfield's computer leads Wilfred to visions of real wealth instead of petty thefts. The goblin, Omegagod, has granted fabulous wishes to a teacher whose secret the lad has overheard. Pretending he's the favored man, Wilfred asks Omegagod for a million dollars. The creature is not fooled, however, and he sets terms that terrify Wilfred even though he scales down his request considerably. There are surprises, tensions and glints of Buckley's acid wit aimed, expectedly, at his familiar targets: computer jargon (according to Wilfred's father) ``could be used to make sense out of a New York Times editorial.'' (813)