English author Egremont's (The Ladies 'Man, 1983) arid, grayish second novel: the story of an urbane London editor quietly having a life crisis--of sorts. Diffident, 50-year-old Simon, editor at the fine old publishing house that still bears his family name, is adrift in a sea of troubles. His lover of ten years has just left him, and he finds he really doesn't mind all that much. His once-vivacious ex-wife, Laura, is now an alcoholic hypochondriac, or vice versa, but all that this summons up in Simon are sweetly sad, nostalgic daydreams of their youthful marriage. He does get a little worked up on hearing that Laura's millionaire husband, Bill, is having an affair with his (Simon's) daughter, Angelica. He will certainly speak to Bill about this. In the meantime, a youthful hatchet-man for the conglomerate that owns Simon's publishing company is trying to force him out; thus threatened, Simon throws a manuscript out a window. Emboldened, he confronts Bill, only to learn that Laura may have been drunk, but not crazy--she has died the night before from cancer. Oh, and Bill is most definitely not having an affair with Angelica, and having always secretly admired scholarly Simon--the crush of a man of action--he will buy the publishing house and make Simon editorial director, with vast powers. A competent, empty novel, with a curiously listless central character. After rattling the doorknob a bit, one moves on.