DILYS Rose is a local writer. That's not a reference her place of birth (Glasgow) or her current place of work (Edinburgh). Nor am I referring to the locations for her short stories. Set within and without Scotland, her stories' backdrops are as likely to rise up from Africa, eastern Europe or America, though she rarely names a location. Nonetheless, Selected Stories and Lord Of Illusions, works new and revisited, are the labours of a local writer, for despite their global reach, these two collections are rooted in the ultimate locality, the one you never escape no matter where you range: your head.

Even with a confident imagination capable of girdling the world, Rose doesn't indulge theories. With one exception, she avoids the fantastical, and the time is habitually the present.

Essentially Rose is a miniaturist, something made obvious in Selected Stories, a round-up of three previous collections, and then driven home in Lord Of Illusions and its scattering of one-page stories.

The terseness and apparent openness of these tiny portraits disguise a compositional skill that can only be cracked open after several reads. Take Jamesie, for example.

Barely a couple of hundred words long, it ostensibly concerns a man talking to an unseen, unheard other on a bus.

Jamesie refers to the headlinehogging murder of a pederastic former schoolteacher in Merchiston a couple of years earlier: "Butchered he was.

Literally. Joints in freezer bags." It took place near where Ian Rankin lives:

"That what's-his-name - chap who writes all the detective stories and is never out of the public eye - they say he's been sniffing around, soaking up the atmosphere." Within a page, Rose registers Jamesie's own interest in the murder while recording his mild disapproval of what's-his-name. Not that Jamesie's objection prevents a selfaggrandising reference to having met the writer: "At a charity do. Got my photo taken with him." This leads to a kent-his-faither-style objection:

"Regular sort of bloke, I thought, if on the scruffy side, " and then a hint of envy about the author's earning power:

"you're talking upwards of a million."

The story ends with a banal farewell and advice that the listener should encourage his sons to swim - "A healthy mind in a healthy body and so on" - that seems a little off considering what was discussed seconds earlier.

This mix of the macabre and the mundane, and of reflex jealousy, pinpoints some unseemly aspects of the Scottish psyche. That others have taken volumes to do what Rose manages within the space of a postcard is quite something.

Rose is a poet whose prose possesses the brevity of verse. In a story about a canary-keeping ex-miner, Mazzard's Coop, the writing is divided into stanzalike paragraphs, in which she unpacks her cultivated, rhythmic imagery:

"Every one a twittering star in the dark, a trill of comfort, a match-flame of melody, saving you again and again."

She has style but it's utilitarian; it doesn't make a nuisance of itself. That may be why Rose hasn't tucked into the kind of acclaim she deserves - that and her dedication to the mysteriously spurned short story. So why do I admire her work rather than love it? Perhaps because the stories are so controlled, so self-contained. They can feel overdetermined, too literary, the result of an exercise rather than an impulse. Her insistence on rooting her tales in one character's consciousness can feel faintly oppressive, and there's a shortage of humour to quicken the mix.

There's also a tendency towards pat, overly tidy conclusions. And so a magician whose marriage to his assistant wife is faltering thinks: "We could do with a few tricks of the trade now. A few more illusions. You and I have got by on illusions. And maybe because we know how illusions are made, we can't fool each other."

I also suspect that Lord Of Illusions' title story - a gay Irish jockey reunites with a old flame - was written entirely to match the final image of the men having sex ("a strung-out seamless hybrid, half man, half horse, raced towards the post") rather than the end growing organically from what went before.

One comes to conclude that the refusal to name settings is a way of avoiding the time-swallowing necessity of research. This curious vagueness is in contrast to precise and poetic images such as a dead pheasant's "tail feathers splayed on the road like tribal head dresses after a massacre". For that alone, Rose deserves to be more than a local hero.