Robert Jointer, an academician, administers a foundation ""for Extended Research"" in Fools Gold, a colony-resort for sportive intellectuals. He has an affair with his ex-wife while Gordon Strawbridge, an English scientist imported to oversee a new observatory now in construction, tries to have one with the wife of the man who donated the land for it. Strawbridge is murdered by a jealous observer. A Negro servant takes the blame, is shot by a posse. All the observations are complete before the observatory is completed. Narrator Jointer, by his tone and style--as offkey as any ""philosophical"" narrative could be--and by his banal comments on American life, proves that it is not worth reading towards that irony. Fools Gold is what the publishers discovered.