A collection of dear little horrors who in their unspeakable actions compose a picture of complete unpleasantness. Henry Malling, whose mother Rose, married for her baby's legitimacy, is pushed, urged, pled with and unreasonably persuaded to become a little gentleman, and soon learned how far deceit, slyness, hypocrisy and lies would go. Through his invidious hatred he caused the death of the unborn child of Rose' second marriage, wrecked and ended the life of his friend, Derek, whose titled family were impotent against their son's homosexuality, and was the means of killing Rose too. The dissolution of these ties delivered Henry into the hands of sadistic, Jewish, vengeful Ada so that even his hope -- in his love for Derek's sister, Penelope, weakens when Ada turns the screws on his freedom after his vile behaviour in World War II. A detailed portrayal of despicable monstrosities -- each transcending the worst of the others -- that makes an issue of decency for decency's sake. When the British do it -- even a heel -- they sometimes do it more so.