Kate was an incurable manager, from childhood, when she took her charming but drunken father firmly in hand, to her final capitulation, after years of matrimony, to the second chance with the husband she had worshipped -- and loved -- and married -- and bossed for years. The situations Kate found at hand demanded a guiding spirit -- so we share her urge to direct events; and Kate does it well enough, except when her own interests are involved. And then her poisonous -- and too, too obvious (one would think) neighbor -- steals the candy right from under her nose. This is the story of a life-long duel between Kate and bad Lalia; the setting is just the sort of Mid-West town that Tarkington knows best. But, unfortunately, once again he has chosen a contemporary period, and once again one has a sense of his information coming at second hand. There is none of the sense of assurance, of perceptive understanding, that made his Alice Adams memorable for all time. The Tarkington old guard market.