Originally published in 1949, Matthew Smith writes with the brilliance of an Arlen and the sophistication of a Maugham in this vintage tale of high-fashioned passion that bares the souls and appetites of mid-century old money.
Nestled in rolling fields on the eastern Connecticut shore stands Cragie, the sumptuous estate of George Ridgley. Passersby admire its sprawling luxury and envy its owner his many acres with their tenant farms, luxurious buildings, and natural beauty.
Here Eros launches five arrows that find their mark at once, filling five cultivated and refined people with passions that even the expansive rooms of Cragie can't contain.
First George Ridgley falls in love with Lesley, a beautiful guest much his junior. Then Reggie, the playboy forgets his selfishness to lose his heart to Audrey, a wealthy and sensuous vixen. When Peter Drake, our tale's hero, flies back from Europe and enters the scene, scandal erupts. These people woo in the same sophisticated, pleasure guided way they live. They play at passion as they play at backgammon-to win.