The Keener love is the unreturned love of Sally Keener for the father who deserted her as a child, and this is a reconnaissance of the classic situation in modern terms and handled with an unaccommodating realism of uncertain taste. Sally, who had married, comes home ""sick"" to commit suicide in the home of her mother and her stepfather Sam Barnes, Sam whom she has never accepted. In the last hours before her death (liquor and sleeping pills) Sam attempts to extract a different kind of love from the girl who has always refused his paternal affection. And after she dies, Sam's guilt prods him to try and learn the answer to her suicide; from her unloved husband; from Ellen, a tramp, who sleeps with him as she had with Sally; from a minister who understood her lovelessness but could not save her... In a fumbling, alcoholic haze- Sam conducts his search for the ""responsible ghosts"", and the bed substitutes for the couch in helping to make possible the revelations here. They are more of a surprise to Sam than the reader.