Perhaps the greatest magic trick performed in Not on Fire, Only Dying, the elegant and gritty debut from Susan Rukeyser, is its improbable blend of elegance and grit. Literary fiction disguised as a crime novel—or is it the other way around?—Rukeyser’s New Yorkers are not the irony-addicted denizens of coffee shops and gentrified walk-ups who have peopled so much contemporary literature set in the city.