Loitering With Intent

by Muriel Spark. Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, $11.95. Fleur Talbot, Ms. Spark’s narrator, describes her association, as a beginning novelist, with a group of odd people who are trying to write their autobiographies, although they have done nothing worthy of record and have not an atom of literary skill among the lot of them. The events that ensue are funny and ultimately sinister, but Fleur sails through them quite happily; in her view, anything that happens is justified because of its potential usefulness in her fiction. The novel-writer’s mind is the real subject of the tale. Fleur is coolly detached, inquisitive, deceitful, ruthless—a quite alarming creature.