Snow, Corro and Spud, three more or less waifish Australian mates, are living from hand to mouth through the last years of the Depression -- with Spud, who delivers newspapers for his sodden, gambling-prone grandmother, definitely getting the worst of it. A guardian angel named Mr. Creedy is hovering in the background however, determined to repay Snow and Corro for saving his daughter Maureen from the clutches of a man-eating shark; and when Spud is seriously injured in a street fight with his Gran's pugnacious competitor Greasy, the implication is that Mr. Creedy's well-heeled concern will assure his survival. Ottley doesn't neglect to keep us informed of each boy's smallest thoughts or to make generalizations like ""Spud was a boy who treasured memories that brought laughter into his life"" just in case any of his readers may have missed the pathos of the boys' situations. The only thing left unexplained is why Mr. Creedy should hang around so long trying to think of a suitable reward and how the newspaper vendors' territorial fight was finally resolved in that last, violent argument. Sentiment, not plot, is always Ottley's strong point; here both seem to have fallen on hard times.