Again a background of China, in which the author loses herself a little too completely for eye-comfort, but nevertheless a well-developed piece of characterization and an unusually colorful, exotic backdrop. The story is that of an American, Moira Chisholm, who separates from her husband and stays on in Peking to which she has become rooted. Sybaritic, cold, but vital, she has an excessive passion for beauty per se, for which she finds an outlet in opening a curio shop, working with old brocades and metals, collecting and creating. She withdraws gradually from people, refuses marriage twice over, and finally falls in love profoundly but at the last minute renigues on marriage, realizing that no human relationship will ever be a satisfactory substitute for the immaculate, classic perfection of the jades and objects d'art to which she has given her life, and which, by the close she resembles. Capable portraiture, fascinating material, but overlong.