Ever since Charity Blackstock's debut with an exceptional mystery story, she has been writing in several tenses and genres and almost always well ahead of the field. The glass house here is called Curran and its different tenants subsist for the most part in tatty circumstances -- both physically and emotionally. Except perhaps for Mrs. Fielding who still has one of her three daughters at home. There's old Mrs. Parsons living off memories of the defunct, and Veronica who drinks herself into nursing homes, and the Photiades, chronic flitters who leave only bills and dirty dishes behind them. There's also Rose, with whom this is primarily concerned, trying to support her two young ones and keep one of them out of the hands of her weak, ""mean,"" homosexual husband -- and Dr. Macek, a Czech, seemingly unknowable, actually the victim of Iron Curtain threats. In other words -- ordinary people, more vulnerable than most, working their way through a ""tricky patch."" A woman's novel -- don't throw stones -- brightened with sense and sentiment and sure to please an audience which usually has to make do with far less of either.