If you remember Mrs. Cookson's Mallens (them as has a white streak in the hair and a mean one in the heart) you'll move easily into the sequel to The Mallen Streak (1972). Thomas Mallen has passed to his reward(?) after littering the Northumberland environs with illegitimate reminders and leaving a mistress, the iron-bound and respectable Miss Brigmore. This is really Miss B.'s story as she deals with Thomas' deaf but beautiful child Barbara by his ""niece"" (who had the sense to expire); with the household of 'arry Bensham -- two sons and a daughter and a dying wife; and with the family across the way, including Michael, whom Barbara loves, not knowing that thanks to Thomas' rummaging through the neighborhood there is a forbidden Link. The storms of The Mallen Streak have abated to one natural death, one fit of Mallen temper leading to an accident, one wandering witless through the meadows, and a plenitude of secrets unearthed and troths plighted or blighted. And Miss Brigmore's banked fires re-ignite. Still the best scullery reading around.