In this 1980 collection Hugh Fleetwood links four tales by a red thread of theme. Author Tina Courtland, having retired to the Italian countryside, is lured back to London to write the life of the only man she has ever admired. Andrew Stairs, who has spent his life refusing to set foot on foreign soil, is tempted by romance to try the risky unknown of 'abroad.' Walter Drake, a novelist cursed by a sense of the failure of his life's work, resolves bitterly to write his autobiography. And Fran Niebauer, a well-heeled patron of writers, is forced to reconsider her motives for this patronage. "Fleetwood can write like a dream...and really get into your head. He reaches down and stirs with venomous delight the nameless, faceless things swimming far below the level of consciousness." (Scotsman).