Miss West as a novelist has left a wide gap of years since the success of The Judge. Now she comes forward with a novel in a completely new vein -- one that suggests the brittle fascination of Huxley, the tongue in cheek of Anne Green, the oblique psychological approach of Virginia Woolf -- blended with her own brilliant and mordant wit. A commentary on post-war France in a story of an American widow, determined to keep her emotions wrapped in cotton wool -- and failing spectacularly, and deliberately, on two occasions, with results other than she bargained for. Paris --Le Touquet -- the outer fringe of the smart crowd -- all under the microscope. The result -- an intellectual treat, for this is a mental not an emotional book, and perhaps the more refreshing for that.