Calvin Gallister (also called ""Cal"", ""Big C"", and ""a real gentleman"") is a professional bookmaker who suffers a stroke and must rid himself of the gambling habit. He succeeds admirably, enjoying a semi-retirement of accumulated wealth, position, friends and family, until he is one day caught in a bookie joint with racing sheet in hand. Calvin is merely passing the time of day with old buddies but neither the vice-squad, the public nor any jury could conceivably swallow such a line. In reacting to the old bookie's predicament we see Gallister as he is seen by others. His brother is grateful because Cal sacrificed himself for his brother's education. But he can't help feeling somewhat ashamed. Cal's son, a criminal lawyer called in to defend his father, is fond of the old man, loves him really, but has never faced the fact that he was indeed a ""bookie"". Then there's Claire, the daughter, who wouldn't go to bed with Brooke because she's overcompensating for her status...Just what Offit is saying about the bookmaking profession is not quite clear -- neither are his characters or even his story line. A dreary, unrewarding novel.