Isabella Taves is the author of short stories and numerous articles about the entertainment industry. This is her first novel, a curious, mildly interesting story in which the main character is revealed almost exclusively through his influences. When Doria Livingston, a fledgling publicist, is assigned to write the life story of a has-been actress she discovers, that every contact and turning point leads her to the anonymous Bert Irving. It becomes apparent that Bert, a permanent invalid when Doria meets him, has managed to dominate the lives of three women, all of whom were, at various times, in love with him. An unattractive yet oddly magnetic man, Bert realized his ambitions in the role of kingmaker but the process became one of deterioration for his pawns: there is the miserable actress, Ginny, whose career he predigested; his wife, Helen, whom he kept in a state of adolescence; Grace Ballantine, whose infantile husband was her second choice; and Doria, almost. Infatuated more by the idea of Bert Irving than by the man himself, Doria, too, finds him irresistible. Finally, his death, which no one really mourns, provides, for all, a tentative release.