The search for the true identity of a dead brother whose manhood was a considerable improvement after a black-sheep childhood. Peter Craig-Robertson is the kind of crazy kid who once made a cigarette out of firecracker powder and nearly blew off his cousin's lips. He has a cheerless youth with younger twin brothers and his parents' dreary, silent marriage. When his mother takes the twins to her native America, he remains in London with his Scottish father. At nineteen Peter goes off to Ceylon to find his fortune as an assistant on a tea plantation. After nine months he's dismissed for outrageous behavior. Off to Australia, he joins a sort of police patrol in the wilder parts of the continent. As a tea expert he switches to New Guinea and the agricultural department. At last he develops his own plantation, and has a commonlaw native wife and son. Before he drowns saving his son, he's widely respected for his contribution to local society and his raucous sophistication and wit. This partly true story, told by one of the twins, is poetic, lugubrious, meandering; it slogs in the exotic shadow of Somerset Maugham.