This was Neville Shute's final novel, and perhaps derives much of its mood due to this. Best known for the depressing nuclear holocaust story On the Beach, Shute wrote this as a celebration of the simple pleasures in life. The protagonist Keith is an unassuming, married, but childless, middle-aged man living in suburban London (Ealing) with his working wife. He has forsaken a more lucrative engineering career in order to pursue his love of miniature modeling and a very meager income as a columnist for "Miniature Mechanic" magazine. When his sister and brother-in-law die in a shipwreck near Tahiti, he becomes the guardian and trustee for his 10-year-old niece. Next thing you know, Keith, who has never left the country, has to find a way to make his way to a remote Pacific island to recover a box of diamonds that was on the wreck. Shute writes convincingly of the things nautical and engineering Keith encounters on his adventure. Along the way he is aided by a somewhat improbable number of people who know him from his reputation in he world of miniature mechanics. It teeters on being trite and corny, but ultimately works as a celebration of karma. Keith has been a good, selfless man, and so other good, selfless men are willing to help him--and he ends up doing what he loves. At the end of his life, Shute returned to this basic message on how to live and love life, and it works.