Jane and Elizabeth Bennet of Pride and Prejudice are well-known – but what of their sister Mary, of the staidly religious mind and awful singing voice?  Colleen McCullough imagines a life for Mary, twenty years after the close of Jane Austen’s novel.  Each of Mary’s sisters is settled in one way or another; Jane is happily married and the mother of many children; Elizabeth has to cope with unwelcome social pre-eminence; Lydia is still enchanted with military officers; and Kitty is a star of the fashionable London salons. When circumstances free Mary from her family obligations she is fired with zeal by the newspaper letters of the mystery man ‘Argus’ and she resolves to publish a book about the plight of London’s poor – a goal which has her plunging from one predicament to another and ultimately to the surprising identity of ‘Argus’.