Henry and Muriel Bell lead a relatively harmonious life on a housing estate with their two small daughters, despite a critical mother-in-law and vulgar neighbours. However, the unexpected visit one Sunday afternoon of Muriel's student, Mr Hawthorne, brings surprising turmoil to the little household. A man of respectable breeding and refined conversation, Mr H. has something to offer both Henry and Muriel, but his posting to London at the outbreak of war disturbs the delicate balance of personal affairs in the family. If only he were able to visit more often, surely everything would be all right. In this, her last novel, Elizabeth Jolley explores issues of innocence and guilt, passion and possession, while carefully exposing the social mores of the time in restrained and sensuous prose.