23 NOVEMBER 1991, Page 34


As I plan to write the great Greek novel soon, I've been gorging on fiction. A Theft (Penguin, £3.50) is a Saul Bellow novella 109 pages long. (Perfect for a lazy Greek). It is witty and tender, and the heroine dif- ferent to those one meets in Vanity Fair. Unlike short-listed Booker prize authors, Bellow sure can write.

As can Tom Stacey, in Decline (Heine- mann, £13.99), writing about things he knows well — the rich and well connected, White's Club, the Cotswolds, Eton, Cambridge, and prison. (The author is a prison visitor, not an alumnus). The decline of the great family is the theme. Or is it?

Wet Work by Christopher Buckley, (Knopf, $19.95) is the best detective novel of the last ten years. And it is also funny. A man pursues the villains who did in his granddaughter.

The most overrated, disappointing rather, as very few rated it at all, was Auberon Waugh's autobiography, Will This Do?(Century, /15.99). I will not indulge in the mud-slinging Waugh seems to revel in when it's directed his way, but I must admit to being shocked at the pettiness of it all. For his sake, he should have kept out the pictures of his family. They're so ugly, it explains a lot about why father and son hated and hate the world as they did and do.