A women's book primarily, for upper bracket rental library distribution, and public libraries. A girl, untrained in the ways of the world, living in the Lake district, marries a Londoner, dependent on a domineering mother. He turns out to be a gambler, making ""petty cash"" on the side, and tied to his mother's purse strings. After her death, he loses his chance to come clean, and wrecks his home, first by involvement in a public gamblers' haunt, then by turning his own home into a private one. His wife brings up the daughter in an atmosphere of lies which the girl herself has developed, and is on the verge of finding refuge in the love of a good man, when her house of cards collapses. Needless, perhaps, to say -- the title is ironic.