Far from the parsonage pictism of his earliest novels, still writing about women (The Weather of February) with a surprising, softspoken believability, this takes place on occasional Mondays throughout a year following the Sundays in the silence and slow time of the South. Lexington, Kentucky. In the house of Maribeth Watts, definitely hers via her father Daddy Joe, still living with them, muffled in the background. Equally quiet is her husband, David, to whom she turns a pretty, pink cheek for a goodnight kiss on his 44th birthday. Fornication, the act as well as the word, assume that distant. Biblical sense of sin. Then there's Joe Bill, her son, a high school boy, who one night when drunk stumbles into boarder Beulah's bed, and leaves her pregnant she's the church secretary. She also has the child and adopts it--its origins undetected if suspected by David. Here they all are, in Maribeth's prissy, pokey little kingdom, as she makes pleasant little visits by day on the phone while the menfolk prowl restlessly at night, the victims of her ruinously virtuous gentility. Mr. Summers manages some sentimental moments without ever slipping on the soap and the book has effective contrasts, gentle and ascorbic.