This is one of Gillian Tindall's scrupulous yet altogether sympathetic audits of experience which might be that of any intelligent young woman -- fashioned as it is from unassuming materials but assessed with more subtlety than most. When Joanna (she's in her late twenties and has an infant) loses her husband Loic in a gratuitous accident, she's offered that comforting cup of tea along with the truism that ""It's the little things that tell."" And while at first her friends try to protect her from being alone, she wants her privacy in an attempt to try and keep her memories of Loic intact and preserve him from ""the insidious erosion"" of time. He had always seemed so superior, dominant, rational. But various remarks of her friends lead her to suspect that he was very different; callous? neurotic? even sexually ambiguous? She has a casual affair which takes him down further without serving as any kind of restorative for her own shattered security. In the end she realizes that nothing is fixed and unalterable -- that ""people meant what they meant to one at the moment, not What they would have meant in another life with other priorities."" Miss Tindall knows all about those little things which do tell and Which do convey the texture of ordinary existence; she also manages to suggest the equivocal and variable nature of relationships, candidly and attractively.