A Black Tie Affair begins a series about the Smith sisters who are famously as beautiful as the "Cushing, Bouvier, and Miller sisters." The Smith sisters have had a long history with the Clayworth's of Chicago, the last event being the hasty termination of their father, former treasurer of the Clayworth department store. There are rumors that Mr. Smith was let go because of something shady and this only serves to foster negative feelings by the Smiths toward the Clayworths, or so we are told. Athena Smith fell in love with Drew Clayworth and he with her. When his parents died in the Fastnet sailing race, Athena was there for him. Drew felt that Athena had betrayed him and their relationship ended.