Portrait of monied, aristocratic Peter Gerard, ""a rising young diplomat"" who had once longed to be a painter. When Peter agrees to temporarily sacrifice his career for his country, he also loses his fiancee Cynthia. She shows her true scheming, ambitious nature and he threatens to marry the first girl he meets. Seconds later ""a Renaissance Madonna,"" named Nancy Jones, proposes to him, Nancy has been nursing her horribly disfigured brother Noah and has told Noah that she has a fiancee to relieve his guilt at taking up so much of her time. So they are wed, strictly for convenience and off they and brother Noah hie to Simonton, Connecticut, a town seething with intrigue. Cynthia is also seething when she arrives. But she's a mere plop in a plot burbling with mysteries (including brother Noah's strange background). But the real mystery is how Miss Loring's antique, boutique plots and prose are digested so readily. With Alka seltzer and tea perhaps?