This is not just any alley is Brooklyn, but an oasis of trees and flowers and even animals, a self-contained world on a college campus for the twenty-six families who live there in their red brick houses in the middle of, but quite apart from, the rest of the city. The thirty-three children have adapted all their activities to the Alley, have created their own society within the bounds, each one having his special role -- , ""the lawmaker;"" Arnold, ""the great R.A. (Rapid Advancement) boy;"" Connie (through whose eyes this world is described), ""the famous swinger."" So protected this world that Connie's family would generally forget to lock the outer door Connie was sure that her Grandmother, armed with a Tiffany vase, could beat back any intruders). One day, however, crime struck. Connie Ives and her family returned to their deserted house to find some suits, a diamond ring, and seven silver dollars missing. Immediately the burglary took precedence in the children a activities. Dilly Maloon, Connie's best friend, devoted his spare time to wriggling around the secret bla of the Alley oasing pieces of evidence ignored by the authorities which were brought to light in a spectacular mock trial staged by the entire group. In their round-about way the children actually did solve the crime. The author of the Maffat books and Ginger Pye has managed to recreate the complexities of a society of children, has shown how these children can turn the commonplace into a unique adventure. This is a most skilfully written book with unusual charm. For extra good measure there are pictures by Edward Ardizzone.