An old man entertains the regulars at a pub with magic tricks, but is not all he seems. This was a very enjoyable story to read; I particularly liked some of Pritchett’s imagery at the beginning (such as this, describing one pub-goer: ‘A pair of yellow gloves drooped in one hand like the most elegant banana-skins’). So it’s a little frustrating that there doesn’t seem to be much more to the piece besides a sting-in-the-tale ending.

Rating: ***½