An oddly old-fashioned sort of book -- a city romance, with Kerry, a rather down at the heels newspaper reporter, assigned chiefly to the city's seamy side, and Anne, a somewhat colorless, singularly naive girl, inexperienced in the ways of men, as central figures in the love story. But on the periphery -- and, to the bone and sinew of the book, more important, -- there is Julie, Kerry's nine year old daughter, old and wise beyond her years and presumably completely in her Mother's custody. There is also Anne's derelict, scandal-linked father, whose imminent return to plague her is a constant threat. Julie's secret weekly rendezvous with Kerry means a chance for an escape to a world of might-have-been stories; her return to her glamorous mother and the step-father who wants to pack her off to school means the reality of being ignored as a human being. The knowledge that Kerry is to marry Anne sends Julie into another pretence -- of boasting of the extravagances her home offers -- but neither of them recognize it or that her world is in fragments. Anne's father has returned, with shady schemes and charm-masked blackmail and threats. Kerry is assigned to a murder in which he knows Anne's father is involved, uses his knowledge to get the man out of town not realizing that Anne's father will strike back, through Julie. And through his sadistic revenge, of showing Julie how she cannot fit into Kerry and Anne's life, he drives her to chooose, seemingly gladly, what her other life offers so that even her father, usually understanding, does not see the heartbreak behind the pretence. There is good reading here and occasional poignancy.