Told by Tom, this is the story of Ray Martin and the effects of Ray's intricate and dishonest operations on the lives of those about him. Knowing Ray first in the Navy during the war, Tom, with other buddies, sees through the charm but is not able to withstand it; Tom's wife succumbs and goes off with Ray; Tom retreats to the country and makes a small start to success in building up the gardens of Sir Edward Grimsby and indulges in an affair with Merle, wife of the man to whom he sells his produce. Ray's climb upwards, becoming more and more involved with pyramiding enterprises, ends in disaster and Tom is able to offer a chance for escape -- which is not successful. Through his work on a dead friend's book Tom hits his luck and decides that by marrying Merle he will help her -- and so help himself. A complex of postwar British life this presents a large cast representing many areas of society and has its eye on incongruities, instability and the sense of a world gone mad. An outspoken commentary on modern living.