To an extent, this novel deals with the legal aspects of child custody in the State of Maine. I asked for help in understanding this subject from my friend Warren Silver, who is a fine attorney. Warren guided me carefully, and along the way he also told me about a quaint old device called the Stenomask, which I immediately appropriated for my own fell purposes. If I've made procedural mistakes in the story which follows, blame me, not my legal resource. Warren also asked me--rather plaintively ¡ª if I could maybe put a 'good' lawyer in my book. All I can say is that I did my best in that regard.

Thanks to my son Owen for technical support in Woodstock, New York, and to my friend (and fellow Rock Bottom Remainder) Ridley Pearson for technical support in Ketchum, Idaho. Thanks to Pam Dorman for her sympathetic and perceptive reading of the first draft. Thanks to Chuck Verrill for a monumental editing job--your personal best, Chuck. Thanks to Susan Moldow, Nan Graham, Jack Roman s, and Carolyn Reidy at Scribner for care and feeding. And thanks to Tabby, who was there for me again when things got hard. I love you, hon.


Yes, Bartleby, stay there behind your screen, thought I;

I shall persecute you no more; you are harmless and

noiseless as any of these old chairs; in short, I never feel

so private as when I know you are here.



Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .

As I stood there, hushed and still, I could swear that

the house was not an empty shell but lived and breathed

as it had lived before.



Mars is heaven.


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