Before The Swallow Dares is a story about two old friends, Ted Bryant and Jim Fletcher, who bump into each other by accident after a gap of forty years, and decide to renew their friendship; one of them discovers that his friend is married to a girl he loved when still at school but with whom he lost contact, something which he had regretted for many years. The two couples become firm friends, but the school-days romance remains a secret. At last, however, Ted has an opportunity to find out why Dilys went away and never answered his letters. The action takes place in London, Berkshire and southern France, with a flashback to their origins in working-class Nottingham in 1951. Although the characters are elderly, they in way fit the stereotype of elderly people; perhaps only a writer who is elderly himself could have portrayed the later stages of life in this way. Certainly their outlook on life and old age reflects the author's own, and, he maintains, those of most of his friends too. Before The Swallow Dares has been described as a sensitively-written and moving book, with moments of great joy and moments of great sadness too.