By limping indirection his story gets under way, and throughout the artificiality of method and manner halt what might have been a story in the vein of Forester's Payment Deferred -- without the trick ending. It is a story of an uncle-by-marriage whose cupidity is tempted beyond control by the realization that two small boys stand between his wife (in no iota party to the scheme) and a fortune of 50,000 pounds. Cloaking his nefarious intentions with plausible solicitude and -- at each episode -- plausible evidence in his favor, the uncle tries three successive times to eliminate the barrier. Only the fact that a novelist friend has been playing with the idea of himself in a story made up of incidents that he has interwoven and has arrived at a fear as to the man's plan, prevents his achievement of the aim. Accidental death saves his reputation at the end. Hutchinson has grown increasingly difficult to read. This is his low water mark.