The first three novels in this collection are bright and breezy but still manage to tackle difficult themes (in "Swami & Friends" it's colonial rule, in "The Bachelor of Arts" it's the social codes of Hinduism, in "The Dark Room" it's the oppression of women). They're very well written and I enjoyed each one immensely, although they do tend to end rather abruptly with no real sense of closure.
The fourth novel, "The English Teacher", is generally seen as Narayan's turning point when his literary talents really started taking off... but strangely, I enjoyed this book the least. Although it's a thoughtful story and deals with death/mourning in a very heartfelt way, I found the supernatural element to be silly and naïve (caution, a spoiler's coming up).
I thought the old man who could communicate with spirits would be revealed as a fraudster who preyed upon grieving families, but when it becomes clear that he's not faking it... and that Narayan expects us to believe that Susila is genuinely giving lessons in telepathy from beyond the grave... the novel went downhill, in my eyes. Maybe this unquestioning belief in the spirit realm was perfectly normal for an Indian audience in 1945 - but I, as an Englishman in 2011, found it faintly ridiculous.