Part of Fonthill, a neo-Gothic abbey, still stands and it was the capstone of the life of William Beckford (1760-1844) who also wrote one less remembered book, Vathek. Menen has created a curio-comedy out of the bare (bottomed) aspects of his personal life since Beckford, at an early age, showed a marked preference for little boys. This during an elegant era when a pederast was more simply a pouf. Herewith then Beckford's various attachments, including the wife Margaret whom he really loved and mourned after her death in childbirth (she had been initially ""poked"" by one of his young men) and the building of the great Abbey he was finally forced to sell to a grimy rich commoner ""Mr. Filthyman."" A stylized conte, a true curio, written with a sophisticated flick of the wrist and a genuine taste for the period.