Marise Tomelty is a child-wife who dislikes sex and is terrified of open spaces. Ralph Shilling, a dealer in pesticides, lives in the flat above the Tomeltys'. One day, Marise's traveling-salesman husband casually mentions that he recognizes Ralph as John Brown, the suspect who, for lack of evidence, was acquitted in an actrocious double murder. Nevertheless, Marise encourages Ralph's attentions, intoxicated by a heady mix of passion and fear. In this shrewdly-observed novel, A.L. Barker explores the tug between body and soul, life and death, truth and fantasy.