Thackeray said ""Who can tell the mischief that the very virtuous do."" Mr. Hawkins proves it in this second novel which while essentially entertainment in calibre, has sympathetic characters who live in prepossessing circumstances. Namely, Belinda Justin, a highly composed and capable woman who has served as an all purpose emollient in her husband Cap's career-- he now wants to be Attorney General-- and in bringing up his difficult child by a first marriage and two of her own. Now, for the first time, after marrying her stepdaughter off, Belinda finds herself not only with time to spare but also certain situations which threaten her composure: ap is away a lot, indifferent to her, and, it seems, to the suicide of her sister; but their youngest son Jamie, a loner, has not only run away from school but also from her. It is Jamie, whom she cannot help, who leaves her with a last ineradicable guilt before he takes his life: the perfectionist is not only impossible to live with but to live up to.... Good of its kind which is a woman's story as told by a man with a certain smoothness and savvy.