Babson, a prolific writer whose work often strives, with some success, for charming whimsicality (Death in Fashion, etc. etc.), is in a somber mood now with this taut and poignant story. Polly O'Magnon is a widow with a grown but mentally retarded son Denny; a helpful daughter Sheila: a hospital job--as well as a fear of the growing pain in her body that's so intense that it has paralyzed any further exploration. Her obsession now is with Denny's future if she should die, and her resolution is to take him with her. Meanwhile, Denny goes his innocent way--feeding the ducks at the river's edge; talking to his friend Rembrandt, the sidewalk artist; picking up stray dogs--only vaguely aware of his sister's loving concern, his aunt Vera's faint hostility, his mother's recent short-temperedness and failure to go to work some days. Then one morning, walking by the river, he's noticed by beautiful, bored Meralda, whose struggling acting career ended five years ago with marriage to rich industrialist Keith, whom she's grown to hate--along with her life in the mansion he's provided. A plan to rid herself of Keith while retaining his fortune has long been brewing in her mind--and Denny is to be the crucial element in that plan. The author moves all the pieces in her carefully structured, tension-laden plot to the dramatic and satisfying Finale of a story that's strong, sensitive, and absorbing.