Fiona King is a Victorian Glasgow lady of middle years, the mother of four. But when her husband Robert skips off to London to be in Parliament, she shocks her set by becoming head of the family distilling business and doing a bang-up job--only to further appall them and compromise herself by a passionate affair with the firm's worst business rival, ""Black Douglas"" Duncan. Duncan, a brawling-bull-like type, loves Fiona but has vowed to ruin the King distillery. To do so, he puts together a monopoly of one of the whiskeys essential to their star blend, ""Queen's Royal,"" named after the dear Queen, of course. And don't think the King dynasty has no other problems: Robert's brother James, a painter, is sued for child-molesting and denied entrance to the Royal Academy, wtdle Fiona's son nearly murders his cousin and then falls in love with Duncan's daughter, who is undergoing pre-Freudian water treatments for insanity. Quigley blends the history and lore of Scotch whiskey with tears galore, making a rather long drink but one with a mellow taste.