This is a difficult book to review, because although I didn't like it very much and it felt like rather a chore to read, nevertheless I can recognise the quality of the writing.
The story centres around a very small cast of characters in the orbit of Mary, a rather childlike woman who has a very close relationship with her brother, an unsuccessful one with her husband, and a whole raft of family secrets, about which she is reluctant to face up to the truth. Mary sets a chain of events in motion which will blow her family apart.
None of the characters is very likeable, especially Mary, who comes across as a spoilt and immature brat. The plot is quite flimsy and not totally believable. But what sets the book apart is the quality of the dialogue, especially between Mary and her brother, who talk in a sort of code.
The book seems quite dated now (it was published in the early sixties) but as a piece of social history and a portrait of life for a well-to-do family in the Scottish Lowlands, it is fascinating.