From the suspense story- to a novel in which that element is certainly contributory, this also is keyed by its island setting as Kavakana, off New Guinea, effects its somnolent fascination and unnatural isolation. For Harry, and Kate, his younger sister, brought up there alone on a plantation, it results in an exclusive relationship, interrupted only by their schooling in Sydney. During a holiday, Harry returns with a friend- Mark Rommel- and he is privy to the tragedy when Harry is drowned at sea. Many years later he marries Kate. Again another friend, after another interval, comes to the island where Mark and Kate Rommel live alone. Mark has gone off -- and to Kate his absence is inexplicable- and she lives in a dense, withdrawn world of her own. With Mark's return- Hartley's doubts and premonitions of danger increase; Rommel's admissions and allegations of guilt in the earlier tragedy are too easy; and only after Kate has left the island, Hartley confronts him with the truth, which is corroborated by Rommel's suicide... The heavy tropical overcast, the strange native ritual lend a distinctive accent to a drama which is secretive and suggestive.