This is sort of like an absurd, hilariously funny Jane Austen, set between the World Wars among England's Bright Young Things. Poor Paul Fotheringay has poured his heart and soul into a tragic novel--at its end his despondent hero and heroine fail even in their suicide attempt--but though the public adores his book they universally think it's the funniest thing they've ever read. Being cruelly misunderstood by his audience and his status-seeking, head-turningly beautiful fiancee is making him wretched, but Paul revives when he comes up with a new project, the biography of a little known nineteenth century poet. While he is passing himself off as an outdoorsy (as if!) tutor to research the mysterious poet Lady Maria Bobbin (her diaries are in the hands of a fanatically sporty descendant) hunts are mounted, parties are attended, games are played, alcohol is consumed and people fall in and out of love at a shocking rate.