A long afternoon spent with the Maces, at a large party where for the first time the family is reassembled along with their friends, gives them all pause to reflect on the past, with a certain rueful nostalgia, and to view their lives at this moment- insecure and incomplete for the most part. Steven Mace is chafing at a dull marriage and a solid business, longs for the freer life offered by his oldest friend, John Douglas, a foreign correspondent. Of his sisters, Millicent has dedicated herself to the memory of her husband, a war casualty; Julia's glamour has been a little rubbed off by the Reno divorce which preceded her remarriage to Richard, a playwright; and Philippa, whose submerged, submissive love for John Douglas has twice frightened him away, is now, married to Will Croft. The party which not only brings back John Douglas, but also all her memories of their love affair, leaves her with the latterday satisfaction that he is now ready for her, impels her toward her death. . . . . A feminine fretwork of decorative accessories and carefully cossd emotions grooms this for women but does not redeem what is at best a listless narrative.