Maxwell is single and lives a settled existence, being the object of much affection and admiration among the ladies of the village, especially on those occasions when he entertains them with his poetry readings, a regular event on the social calendar of Daneburton. Among those devotees, we come to identify the main female protagonist of the story, Maud Blake, who is drawn into focus gradually and gains in importance as the story unfolds. Into this settled existence comes a 'blast from the past' in the form of an old friend of Max’s – a photographer by the name of Brough Fawley.
From then onwards, the plot thickens and tensions begin to mount. We are drawn back to a place and time thirty years previous in which the two men meet at the home of Max’s benefactor and mentor, and from which the stage is set for the drama that unfolds. The women of Daneburton, meanwhile, themselves a veritable hotbed of intrigue, jealousy and simmering desire, are thrown into disarray with the introduction of the handsome and rakish photographer who, albeit no longer in the first blush of youth, becomes the catalyst for a very sedate, English sort of mayhem that gradually spirals out of control.
c. 1890’s 'cabinet card' of a woman with a camera.