An elegant, wayward divertimento lighter than the soft Italian air of the Alban hills where it takes place among urbane spongers of the three sexes who attach themselves primarily, or secondarily, to an American heiress Maggie Radcliffe. Maggie is carelessly generous and imperious and at the moment she's a Marchesa; one of her properties is in the hands of Hubert Mallindaine who has given up his four secretaries of the previous summer, when they ate and drank fantastically well, to settle for a single handmaiden, Miss Thin, and press his claims as a descendant of the goddess Diana. In order to subsidize a renascent cult, he strips Maggie and her house of its priceless antiques and a Gauguin while another worthless man appropriates her money. Needless to say vengeance is not the Lord's nor Diana's but Maggie's--she can handle any situation in this novel, Muriel Spark's most ambitious in some years. It can be read as a decorative, self-perpetuating comedy of urbane truths and consequences, or, as also intended, as a reprise and renewal of pagan mythology when our own Christian morality has been so decadently depreciated.