What starts off as kin to Joanna Godden -- winds up closer to her own Foolish Gentlewoman, with an end result that is unsatisfactory. There is, at first meeting, the expected adroit characterization in the swift turn of phrase, interplay of perceptive analysis and gently barbed humor. And there it remains- the characters become static and the situations are played on the surface. Miss Sharp's gift for setting the stage does not fail her. The time is 1870; the place- the fabulous farm of the Sylvesters, in Devonshire. There we meet the famous sisters-in-law as they await the coming of the younger brother's betrothed. The parlour is a perfect ""set""- complete to lustre and Turkey carpet. Then comes Miss Davis, a wholly wrong note. They do their best, but their best is not enough, and ultimately they find themselves with the misfit firmly entrenched, a neurotic invalid, with secret aspirations for power at cost to the whole Sylvester clan. Aunt Charlotte, blind to the truth of the matter, plays Fanny Davis' game until the small niece who tells the story turns Cupid- spills the applecart -- and the truth is out. The finale is a let-down- but the approach has its moments of grandeur. While not top drawer Margery Sharp, it will undoubtedly prove popular.