The Kings and Queens of England

by Jane Murray. Scribner’s, $7.95. Apparently this exasperating book is designed for the use of travelers to England who know nothing of that country’s history and wish to have the condition disturbed as little as possible. The text, relentlessly flip and sometimes truly witty, starts in the present and works back, crown by crown, to Edward the Confessor, which means the reader meets cart before horse all the way. Illustrations, index, appendix, bibliography.