Set in a countrified industrial town in England this is an earnest but pathetically inept account of an affair between a middle-aged civil servant who is a convert to Catholicism and the promiscuous niece of the village priest. Besides being the Chief Administrative Officer of the Health Department, Martin Dexter is a part-time novelist. He is devoted to his wife, a concert pianist, when she is not on tour or preparing for one, and to his children, if they don't bother him when he wants to write. Vaguely dissatisfied he becomes involved with Jansey who is serving as her uncle's housekeeper. Although Martin spends a great deal of disproportionate time examining his flexible conscience, questioning his faith, exchanging incivilities with his boorish priest and evading the scandalized inquiries of his co-workers, the curious fact is that Jansey remains a virgin. Finally, after Martin has attempted to murder her, Jansey elopes to the States with a successful insurance salesman. Martin makes an anguished confession to a Franciscan and is reunited with his wife. The author best sums up his own unbelievable story: ""the whole thing might just never have happened"".