A chance encounter over a Victorian flower book brings together Humphrey, an antiques dealer, his nephew James, and Leonora. Although she is considerably older, Leonora develops a fondness for James. She also knows that Humphrey has feelings for her. Leonora is determined to keep James under her spell until she realises that she has to contend with the bookish Phoebe. Then Ned, a wicked young American, appears on the scene. Readers of Barbara Pym's earlier novels will find her wit and observation as sharp as ever.