Wanton Windmill comprises, among other things, a curious and heady mixture of clerics, cultural celebrities; a bored cynic, extreme idealist, psychotherapist and behaviourist. This galaxy of characters assemble at Wanton Rectory for a weekend celebration of Sir Treadboards' 70th birthday. There are also two surprise arrivals. The extended conversations taking place over the weekend cover environmental issues, evolution, free-will; life on other planets and lead to a final, late Saturday night debate.
Concerning the story-line, the well known thespian Sir Terence, is recovering after a breakdown. He has lately moved from London to live with his cousin, a retired Bishop, nicknamed 'Boffo'. The latter lives in a former Rectory at Lower Wanton End. The extensive grounds contain a windmill, and it is here that the out-of-sorts theatrical knight spends much of his time.
On a Friday in August, invited guests travel to the Rectory by various forms of transport. In transit, we encounter the rabbit-faced poet, Edmund Edgy, who idolises the Anglo-Saxon era. We also meet a new political party leader, Ashley Dunce, whose sound-bites leaves everyone nonplussed. Other characters include an accident-prone cleric and celebrated woman artist.
The various weekend guests arrive. Following supper, a recital is given by the nerve-ridden pianist, Julian Morbid. Afterwards, matters become complicated by Edmund Edgy being torn between the contrasting allures of Juniper and Esther. Mr. Morbid is also unhappily pursued by two quarrelling lady journalists.
After a miniature train ride and picnic on Saturday, matters on Sunday morning move to a head with three male characters outside on the windmill's tower top, seeking to end their respective miseries.
The overriding theme of this novel resides in the alliance of comedy with the fallibility of human idealism.