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February 10, 1991|Charles Solomon

TYLER'S ROW by Miss Read (Dora Saint) (Academy Chicago Publishers: $8.95). Miss Read, Dora Saint's pseudonym and alter ego, serves as the narrator of a popular series of novels set in a small English country village near Oxford. At times, Fairacre suggests a British equivalent of Lake Woebegon, a place small enough for everyone to know everyone else--and their business. This installment in the series centers on the four 18th-Century cottages that constitute Tyler's Row, and the schoolmaster from a nearby town who buys them and attempts to turn them into a livable residence despite the assistance of the recalcitrant local contractor, the ambitious architect and two obstreperous tenants. The modest scale of Saint's story enables her exaggerate minor human foibles into a pleasant, low-key diversion.

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