Cora Caley - A woman of fantastic beauty and wealth. A woman who had been denied nothing. Now her most incredible enterprise had been completed. She had transformed acres of Australia' hot and arid desert into lush greenery and in its midst had built The House - a house of unequalled grandeur. And to crown her latest and most splendid achievement she was going to be hostess for the perfect party. She had spared nothing to ensure absolute elegance and lavishness for her guests.
Yet, as the party began Cora felt a tremendous sense of failure (she knew Plan X would most assuredly have to be instituted). The party was failing, but only because it somehow seemed to culminated the terrible vacuum of Cora's own life. She was doomed to emptiness and she was terrified.
As the party progresses she is confronted by ex-husbands, former lovers, her sister, her daughters, servants and to all she seems on the verge of madness. Maybe she is, but then again maybe her own realization of the sterility of her life is her one sane thought - maybe it is her lifeboat.
Weaving through reality and fantasy, Cora reveals herself as Everywoman struggling not only for happiness and love, but for the certainty of her own definite and meaningful character.
Josephine Saxton (1935 -)
Josephine Mary Howard was born in Halifax, Yorkshire, in 1935 and from the mid-60's produced a body of highly regarded sceicne fiction novels and short stories under the name Josephine Saxton. Her 1986 novel Queen of the States was nominated for the 1987 Arthur C. Clarke Award. She lives in Warwickshire.