Nop's Trials

byDonald McCaig. Crown, $14.95. Mr. McCaig’s prose appears to be designed for ten-year-olds. His sheep-dog characters address each other as “thou” and prattle of “working woolies.” These obstacles are repulsively evident in the first pages of his novel, but the reader who surmounts them will enjoy a fine suspense story about a Virginia farmer in pursuit of his stolen dog. The author’s monosyllabic style proves capable of sophisticated effects, and the peripheral information he provides ranges from the operation of sheep-dog trials to misuse of a fire hose. Talking dogs are a small price to pay for a story as good as this one.