This is to be the first of several novels planned to, describe the life of a fictional city called Portal (San Francisco). The Spencers are landed gentry. Their problems are various but a lack of intercommunication within their own well-heeled group, within their family, and within their community seems to be the chief one. The information accompanying the galley indicates that the author is a successful businessman living in the San Francisco area and active in its art collecting activities. This, adds a lot of social/artistic knowhow to the milieu of the Spencers. It isn't Auchincloss but. it a well put together novel that shifts its narrator from character to character. Most often, these people are working and living together on. the assumption that they are understood, but more often than. not, they have misinterpreted each other's motives, although most are too well bred to rasp against each other. Evade Spencer married Jim Kern, a painter, a critical success, in his own life time, and, it is her effect on him and the family and their friends that gets continuous, shifting attention. She has an organized facade and a Victorian sense of the fitness off things that is hard to live up. to or with even though she senses her own disengagement, especially after her husband's death. One of the best parts' or, the book describes the unnecessarily forced integration of a reserved Episcopal church. The mores and the tribal rites of the solid upper middle class.