Mr. Swinnerton is now 89 and this is his 55th book -- something of an occasion all by itself. A domestic romance, of sorts, flirting with darker forces when Rosalind, a beautiful young woman, passes like a whiff of perfume through the lives of Clarissa and Henry Maynard and several of their friends. Clarissa devotes herself to her painting (Rosalind was her model) and Henry to a work on the Druids, a partial escape from the Modern World. In between there are some tea-table speculations and incomplete confidences on lives other than their own. Until Rosalind dies suddenly, leaving a litter of damage -- two other casualties and more to come and finally there's a nearly fatal accident when Clarissa proves both her courage and her love for Henry in a literal burst of flame. Mr. Swinnerton, here in the role of a decorous exorcist, suggests supernal influences now and again but the tone is so benevolently good-humored that you can almost hear him wink. In any case, growing old with him is another kind of proof positive that ""God's in his heaven"" since he always takes an audience with him.