Simon Milson of the British Foreign Office is invited by an old friend from Cambridge to help him sort out a situation in the South of France with their old friend, Will Ludley. Priss, Will's wife, insists that Simon come. Simon has never met Priss and hasn't seen Charlie nor Will in 20 years, and is hesitant to get involved. However, when a top-secret assignment comes up and Simon is asked to investigate Will's involvement in a military operation that went horribly wrong some years back in Djakarta, Simon finds himself on his way to the Villa Golitsyn for a much needed vacation. Along for the ride is Charlie, who initially invited Simon, as well as Helen, a 17-year old runaway schoolgirl, whom Simon feels a fatherly compulsion to help. As the story unfolds, Helen, Charlie, and Simon become entangled in the marital problems befalling Priss and Will. In hopes of drinking himself to death, Will has become a raging alcoholic due to past sins he has committed. Simon, suspecting what these sins might be, hopes to extract a confession regarding Djakarta, but finds himself slowly falling in love with Priss and forgetting his assignment as the chaos swamps him. Priss, with mysterious motives, hopes to manipulate Helen into a relationship with Will, and asks Simon to assist her scheming. As the traumatic events unfold, startling confessions are given, lives are shattered, and life at the Villa Golitsyn is not always just fun in the sun.