Even if everything is reasonably up-to-date (""you'd better believe it"") in the feudal town of Sturt, Australia, life is still sharply divided between the ""servants and the served."" This is a full-fashioned novel which begins with one murder, ends with another death, and in between drops in on a good many people who live there. They almost crowd out the story even if you enjoy getting to know them. Sturt, as it was in the beginning generations ago, has always been controlled by the Brooks -- a law unto themselves with a way of altogether disregarding the Seventh Commandment. Now the current Kit Brook's wife has been killed -- but by whom? Perhaps the ""Poor Sam"" of Mrs. Minter who does domestic work in several households to support her second husband and assorted offspring. While the Brook dowager, Aunt Miriam, presides at a distance -- closer to, she looks like the ""Queen Mum"" -- Gail, Kit's daughter and as sexually restless as her father, delivers the central romance with Keith Anvers, a lawyer from the river flats otherwise known as the wrong side of the tracks. . . . Valerie Elliston tells her on-and-off story with time and sympathy to spare -- it might appeal to those who liked the early Sumner Locke Elliott -- a traditional-modern novel which doesn't coddle sentimentality or tamper with life as it might so easily be anywhere.