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This mildly acidulous novel spends a rather long summer at the Chestnut Tree, a small hotel for an entrenched proper Philadelphian clientele of sound social position, ampler means and still more substantial physical measurements. The time is 1918 and Miss Page's eye is beady bright as it settles on the double chins and receding hairlines of the guests who spend a good part of the day in the ocking chairs on the porch; there is an interminable drone of gossip as they read the obituaries; discuss the slim marital chances of Nancy McHenry, the youngest of four unmarriageable daughters; comment on various forms of gastric distress and watch the stock market. On Saturday nights there is a dance to which the flashing orgnettes lend a certain sparkle. As for the novel itself, it picks up a little momentum midway with the revelation that many at the Chestnut face financial ruin, due to the speculations of one of their group in an attempt to take a wealthy outsider from Chicago, Mr. Appledorp. Mr. Appledorp shows that he can handle the situation better than they can, and the season draws to a close with the annual shuffleboard tournament... Miss Page has, without a dismal doubt, accomplished a kind of still life which is truthful to character and perfectly appointed with period details, but the subject is suicidal.

Pub Date: May 3rd, 1964
Publisher: Yanguard