Based on a true crime, rebuilt with care and fidelity as to era and character, concluded ironically, there is much here to suggest Joseph Shearing in a novel of period passion and punishment. Frances Winwar may well reach a wider audience with her thoughtfully, elegantly detailed study of love and revenge. This is the story of Abby, young, innocent and beautiful, captivated by the dark, worldly stranger in her Vermont village. She marries him and finds that he is a weak, petulant egocentric, with ideas of grandeur; actually he is a disbarred lawyer, repudiated by the Tammany politicians. Abby makes a career for herself, sustaining him and their child; she copes with his maniacal possessiveness, she joins the postwar world of New York Bohemians and falls in love with Atherton, a famous novelist. Her husband, Harlan, becomes dangerously violent and she leaves him. He shoots Atherton - but it is Abby who is prosecuted and defamed by public opinion, while Harlan is exonerated and exalted. A finished and holding piece of work, which may give occasional pause to ultra-conservatives.