A better than adequate first novel, in a competent but perhaps not compelling story of one man's conflict between two ways of life, one represented by Pittsburgh, the other by a small Ohio town, and between two girls. Brought up in Malice Landing by an uncle, Marius leaves at 16, bums around, then settles down in Pittsburgh where a sharp opportunism compensates for lack of education. He starts a chain of hotel magazines, has an affair on the side with gay, undemanding Tamsin. But his uncle's helplessness takes him back to Malice Landing, and he takes hold of his uncle's mill, and with the help of a local girl, Maggie, turns it into a nationwide enterprise. By slow progress, he finds that what he really wants is marriage with Maggie -- and they leave Malice Landing for the greater freedom of life in a larger town.