A psychological-suspense tale of John Phileas Drum who writes the story of his life in extenuation of his crimes and his madness. His graceful, but graceless, mother who never offered him love; his demanding father- and the assortment of relatives who made his childhood a torment; his one period of tremendous happiness, in Italy, which shattered when the possibility of homosexuality occurs; and his retreat into the life of a scholar, withdrawn, fastidious. Then a short, intensely passionate affair with Berenice which breaks his isolation, cracks his mind. A recall which is constantly running away from the origins of his unbalance, which for the first half is an absorbing, near-normal picture of the pressures, later verges on the hysterical, implausible. Of interest to the followers of this new trend in fiction, but not altogether satisfying.