'WITH NEARLY FORTY NOVELS UNDER HIS BELT, STANLEY MIDDLETON IS A SPECIES OF ALAN AYCKBOURN. . . HE DEALS WITH THE MARRIED MIDDLE CLASS. . AND FINDS POIGNANT TRUTHS AMID THEIR PREOCCUPATIONS. ' TIME OUT Sam Martin feels himself to be lucky. He lives in rich retirement and in good health despite his old age, busying himself with painting, walking and with the affairs of others he observes from his Norfolk bungalow. Confronted by a necessary and approaching end, the strong purpose of his earlier life seems to have diminished; but there are still surprises to be had, especially in a constricted life, as Sam, and those around him soon discover.