George Lenhart's New York is a retro-Manhattan, a Cheeveresque world of clubs, cocktails, and cards. Heading to Wall Street after college, Lenhart takes up with his old boarding school crowd, a group of young men and women who have every intention of amusing themselves and none at all of growing up. At the center of the frivolity is a girl - "the" girl - careless, fickle Kate Goodenow, whom George watches, as he always has, as she plays Hearts with one young man after another, but never with him.
The threat to this world of monied and formerly monied WASPs arrives in the form of Harry Lombardi, a middle class Catholic gate-crasher, desperate to learn the fundamentals of play. When Harry's blunders call a halt to all the fun, George must decide whether the only game he knows is worth the price of playing.