The story of the doomed and damned Cathy Bellingham whose love for fever and grande luxe and whose aroma of demoralization build up to a macabre, baroque melodramatic climax, whose documented silken glamour has a faint and phony resemblance to all wicked women of history, stage and screen. For she keeps David, her adopted son, dangling with the promise of Venables the symbol of England of the past; in bondage by the heroic stories of Waldo, her dead husband; and in misery when she reveals the identity of his father to prevent his marriage. David's adolescence and manhood uncover hints and segments of the truth, -- of Cathy's marriage, of her affaires, of her own warped, constrictive character. But it is not until just before Venables is bombed that he learns the whole truth -- of his right to his name and his home and of Cathy's unmitigated viciousness -- and is forever freed. The atmosphere of catastrophe is sustained although the whole is a posturing extravaganza of shock -- which might mean sales.