If Honor Tracy has written more humorous novels (most notably, The Straight Path) she has at least assembled in this book a singular assortment of the balmy and the daft. The setting is mainly the La Touche estate -- Silverwood, where the twins, Violet and Ninian, maintain a series of running battles with their neighbors, their precious if erratic Italian servants, and their week-end guests. Ninian's sufficiently existence is further enlivened by the presence of his young secretary Mercy Fellows whom Ninian endows with rare talents even though she is scarcely capable of dealing with the most elemental kind of facts. Mercy has a beatnik boy friend who exerts a strong influence on Ninian and who is responsible for Ninian's growing a beard and having several brushers with the law. Ninian is even inspired to take Mercy to Spain with him convinced that her supposedly precocious aptitude for painting will flourish. But the trip proves a failure and Ninian returns to Silverwood to find that his niece, who was destined to become a man when her mother entered a Buddhist, monastery, is having her illegitimate baby. And he is left to brood over the perpetual catastrophe his life has become.