This immerses you immediately in the social world of pre-war London with a group of passengers crossing over on the cross-channel ferry from France to Dover. Among the passengers are several Bright Young People and Adam Symes who is heading home to get married and make it as a famous novelist.
He manages to lose his manuscript to the furnace at customs as they decide its falls foul of decency laws but then gets invited by a young socialite to a party and he never looks back.
The parties are frequented by gossip columnists, who are them selves part of the landed gentry, writing about the antics of the friends. Money comes and goes and love is something to be enjoyed but not an issue to get ‘too intense’ about. Symes is the focus of the book so far with his on-off engagement being dictated by his fluctuating fortunes with money. He is given £1,000 pounds in a bet but promptly loses it being drunk.
The humour comes thick and fast and there is a great scene where the Prime Minister’s daughter ends up on the front pages after inviting people back to number 10. One of the gossip columnists gets the splash despite the potential to lose friends. But in a hedonistic society where no one seems to care about money or anything serious who really cares?