In 1942, with war raging in Europe, the playwright "Perry" Perry and his wife Babs tire of Dublin literary life and move to the small, quiet coastal town of Drane. Drane, however, is more than it seems. Its social whirl revolves around the amateur dramatic society—"The Standing Ovations"—and the film society run by Dermo Grace, owner of the Robin Hood Hotel, a man with a finger in every pie. Perry loves the "fillums," though the Hays Code still applies ("total nudity not permissible"), and good always triumphs over evil. That's the way Judge Garrity, with his mortal loathing for sins of the flesh, thinks it should be. But it's not like life in Drane. Up on the hill is the German Embassy, rumored to be playing strange games; down below lies the church, and an explosive book left by the censorious Canon Turmoyle; and the astonished Perry is soon entangled in a web of hypocrisy and scandal, affairs and adultery, love, tragedy, and death.