A coal town in County Durham, in the north of England, is the setting for this unpretentious first novel by a forty-year-old Englishman who grew up in the district. The story is a simple and rather unconvincing one of a jilted young miner who stabs his rival in a rage and gets sent to prison for it. Upon release, he returns to the town where his beloved and his erstwhile rival are now happily married; in a mine disaster, he leaves the husband to die when he could have saved him, and goes mad with guilt afterwards. Interspersed are incidental views of English working-class life: of games and drinks at the ""local"", of the storeman who comes round to the cottages with his groceries in a van, and of the ""clubman"" who sells anything from towels to TV on hire purchase. Quite tame enough for old ladies and children who patronize the corner store library.