A highkeyed woman's novel is told in the first person by Amy Bartwell, the young and fairly recent bride of Johan, at the time when he is held under suspicion at the inquest of her aunt, Lolly. And while largely concerned with the immediate tragedy, whether suicide or murder, it also returns to the incident in Amy's much earlier past when her mother, her stepfather and his mistress had died under sudden and suspicious circumstances, leaving her stepsister Isabel with a lasting hatred she now tries to exorcise-in implicating Johan. For Johan, while not directly responsible for Lolly's death- had been her lover from the time when he had left the seminary, had used her to substantiate his fall from grace and his failure to become a priest, and in abandoning her, and marrying Amy, had just as surely destroyed Lolly's will to live. Johan's appearance now, at the inquest, his refusal of the easy exoneration offered him, is more of an attempt to clear himself in the eyes of his faith rather than the law, and enables him to go on with Amy, having achieved a certain measure of sanctity and serenity.... An emotional cliffhanger scales many altitudes of the flesh and the spirit. Its saving grace is certainly a facile use of words and situations, hyperbole all, to keep its readers- women- reading.