This third book about the irrepressible Conroy sisters (The Exiles at Home, 1994, etc.) takes them on a vacation to France with Big Grandma, who renews her acquaintance with a married male friend. In the meantime, Phoebe pursues her determination to become an international spy, Ruth tries to get over the ""family failing"" of falling in love, Naomi passes off her blue hair as the latest style, and Rachel plans to marry Philippe, a French boy who visited the family in England. McKay's wickedly dry humor (at a funeral for a dead hedgehog, Naomi tells Phoebe that RIP stands for ""Riddled In Parasites"") and enchanting, outrageous characters result in a book that has appeal on every page: Philippe, especially, is a winning combination of Gallic charm and precocious wit. His invasion of the Conroy home will be as memorable for readers as it is for the sisters, and in the second half, when he is kept mostly offstage, no one will lack compassion for poor Rachel.