An incredible story made thoroughly credible, this romantic melodrama from the pen of one of our ablest craftsman. Maugham in his best story telling vein spine a modern version of Beauty caught in her own toils. The story has tremendous holding power, for its plot alone. None of the principals emerge as more than very affective playing their parts on a glamorous stage picturing the moonlight flooded Riviera of the spoiled expatriots. There is the lovely widow, considering a marriage of convenience, and almost naively reaching out for one last gesture towards passion; there is the Empire Builder who has asked her to share his pinnacle; there is the dissolute philanderer with a heart of gold; there is the German refugee to whom she hopes to give one perfect moment. The pace of the story would seem better suited to a long short story than a novel. But no one can deny its sheer readability. Librarians, beware your conservatives. Top rentals.