For those with a taste for Simenon, this spare account of the lives affected by one man's impervious love of his fortune and his power therefrom. When Bidou's daughter, Madeleine, marries for love, he withholds her dowry, lets the couple scrimp on its income and when Madeleine is widowed, determined she shall marry his political pawn, Cambornac, he further contaminates her life by refusing to help support her son. Madeleine's attempt at freedom -- an affairs with a married man -- fails when he runs out on her pregnancy. But with her father's death, and the freedom his wealth gives her, she accepts the inevitable -- of marriage to Cambornac. With precise attention to the economic-sociological details of 1908 southern France and an accomplished handling of emotional shading, this is for the discriminating rather than the unselective reader.