Henry Tillotson, a generous, genial man, rescues Margaret from a disastrous marriage in Egypt and brings her home to the West Country as his new wife. On the threshold she gives him a black eye and retires straight to bed where she remains, apart from the occasional malevolent outburst, for the rest of her life.
Over the years, two young couples become regular if uneasy houseguests, listening, speculating, keeping a watchful eye on Margaret's door until finally, piecing together the gossip, the rumours and the mystery, they find themselves tangled in the web of Henry's life.
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