A change of just about everything except effectiveness from her earlier ample Balkan trilogy, this is a serrated novel of three teen-age girls in a drab little town, Camperlea, near Portsmouth, England. With the exception of its flashier industrial element, Camperlea is quite quiet and save for a trip to the Isle of Wight, Laura, for instance, has never been away from her staid, nattering parents. It is there that she sees for an instant the playroom of a Mrs. Toplady, a gross woman with a soiled elegance. The memory of the playroom and its lifeless dolls will stay with her back in Camperlea, and while Laura dreams of getting away to London, her friend, the far more seductive Vicky, ""adorned by events"" of a more tragic nature as well as her languid, erotic air, looks for excitement here and now. Particularly at the factory dances with a virulent young man. . . . These girls with their romantic imagination which diddles tempting unknowns are true to any time but the victims of their own. . . . From its initial understatement to its terminal undercut, the novel is altogether convincing and potent.