In two widely disparate novellas, Muriel Maddox explores different times and different settings as she takes us from Switzerland where a past secret endangers the present to the 1930s in Rio de Janeiro as the threat of war in Europe creates only one of the dilemmas for an American Navy wife. In ''Noela,'' Paul Sanderson, a Los Angeles lawyer, and his wife Liz are vacationing at a Swiss hotel in Vevey on Lake Geneva. As Paul glances across the lake to France he suddenly realizes that he is opposite the village of Saint-Gingolph where his plane had been shot down during the Second World War and where he had been hidden by a French family. He wonders what has happened to Noela, with whom he had a brief love affair, and also the priest, Andre Romelin, who helped him escape. Paul had promised to return, but never did. When his wife runs into an old friend and makes a lunch date with her, he quickly takes a steamer across to Saint-Gingolph. The secret he discovers there threatens to destroy his life. In ''That Man in Rio,'' an American Navy couple is stationed in Rio de Janeiro during the 1930s as war clouds are gathering over Europe. A former Southern belle from Raleigh, North Carolina, Lila Townsend loves the glamour of Rio but is bored with her life as a wife and mother of two small children. She becomes involved with a dashing German diplomat, whom she meets at a polo match. Their affair escalates and Kurt asks her to leave her husband and return to Germany with him. As she is torn about what to do, fate steps in bringing a tragedy Lila could not foretell.