Lewis Eliot's wife's name is Margaret. Her father, Austin Davidson, attempts suicide. Margaret sees this as a kind of breach of trust. Margaret and Lewis visit Hector Rose, a former civil servant now retired. He has remarried and his new wife is young. Lewis's nephew Pat claims he wants to name his new baby after Margaret. (The child turns out to be a son.) Pat's wife Muriel makes her own decision about naming the baby. Following the baby's birth, Muriel arranges a separation from Pat.
When Lewis's son Charles, age seventeen, returns from a trip abroad he says he is struck by how inward Britain has become. After his wife turns him out, Pat visits the dying Austin Davidson. Trying to decide whether to take a government job, Lewis encounters Sammikins, who is gaunt-faced, (inoperable cancer). He decides not to take the job. The novel is set in 1965, a time when British power and influence had diminished. Austin Davidson, a pre-1914 member of the group known as the Apostles believed that no good man got involved in politics. He was pleased with Lewis's decision.
Lewis has surgery for a slipped retina. He learns that while he was under anesthesia his heart had stopped. Francis Getliffe, a comrade and notable university scientist, feels that Lewis's experience should not have happened.
While speaking to one of Charles's friends, Lewis registers the fact that in 1965 people no longer try very hard to disguise their regional accents.
This is as strong a novel in the STRANGERS AND BROTHERS series as any of the others. As characters die and plot lines are tied up the reader feels things end naturally and reasonably. There seems to be no weakening of purpose on the part of the author, no slackness.