It is one of the six non-detective novels that Agatha Christie wrote under her pen name, Mary Westmacott. Joan Scudamore, housewife and mother of three grown children, is happy, remarkably self-satisfied, and not-at-all introspective. Trapped alone in a foreign rest house she has nothing to do but reconsider her life. Self-analysis is at first unpleasant and then terrifying, as Joan probes deeper and deeper into her memories of interpersonal relationships. At last, mentally stripped to the core, she must reconstruct herself to face the future.