A Word Child

SHORT REVIEWS

BOOKS

by Phoebe Adams
by Iris Murdoch, Viking, $8.95. Ms. Murdoch’s hero, a surly, suspicious bachelor, involves him self in erotic entanglements that must be read to be believed. That is the author’s impressive accomplishment; the whole mad mix-up is believable. So are the odd, cranky people, their dingy London surroundings, and their endless, needling prattle. Skillful, elegant, wittythis is a superior novel.