David Leavitt displays his masterful range, his deep emotional intelligence and wit in these nine stories, a cosmopolitan selection set variously over the past century, from fin de siècle London to early-60s Hollywood, from Florida to Rome. Here is a survey of human relationships, from the most intimate to the most unexpected, and human experience, veering from the light into the dark, as in the title story, where a man tries to make sense of his partner’s murder, and in “Black Box,� about the alliance of two souls left grieving after a plane crash.

His fourth story collection since he burst onto the scene at age twenty-three, The Marble Quilt shows Leavitt maturing into one of the most accomplished and agile writers of short fiction today.