The short story "Dusk" by Saki opens with a man named Gortsby sitting on a park bench at dusk, contemplating the type of people around him in the park at that time of day. An elderly man next to him gets up to leave, and the young man who takes his place tells Gortsby that he left his hotel to buy a bar of soap but afterward was unable to find the hotel again. He expresses concern that he will have to spend the night outdoors unless he can find someone to lend him some money. Gortsby asks the young man to produce the bar of soap, and when the young man cannot, he walks off in a huff. Gortsby then finds a bar of soap on the ground under the bench, hurries after the young man, apologizes, and lends him the money. Upon returning to the bench, though, he finds the elderly man searching for the bar of soap he has lost.
This story is told from a third-person limited point of view. That is, Saki focuses only on Gortsby and what he is thinking, and everything else that happens is observed from his perspective. This is crucial because of Saki's intention to misdirect the reader just as Gortsby is misdirected by the circumstances within the story.
The style of the story is subdued. Saki uses simple language to tell his tale, because he plans to have the actions of the characters surprise his readers, rather than the language itself.
The main literary technique that Saki uses in "Dusk" is misdirection, and he uses it in two main areas. First of all, his description of Gortsby's opinion of what type of person comes out at twilight turns out to be misdirection. Saki contrasts the well-off people who frequent the brightly lit avenues with the unfortunate people down on their luck who frequent the park under cover of dusk. Gortsby is feeling defeated, and he sympathizes with the others around him who are also defeated in some aspect of their lives.
Into this atmospheric scene enters a con man, and the story abruptly changes from a moody description of the city's unfortunates to a battle of wits between Gortsby and the young man. Gortsby supposes that he has exposed and bested the young man when he asks him to produce the soap, and he really has. However, Saki is again misdirecting his readers, much as a magician uses sleight of hand to do their tricks. Gortsby finds the soap, runs after the man, and lends him money. Only when he returns to the bench and finds out that the elderly man owned the soap does he realize that he was not as clever as he thought and that he was ultimately duped by the con man.