As in his other novels performer Steve Allen manages to submerge his rudimentary feel for character and dialogue in a headlong sentimentality. Still this story of a feuding Depression Irish family at their aged mother's wake is busy enough. Innocent observer of the flying forensics is small David, perennial boarder since his mother Belle, not geared for motherhood, is working the vaudeville circuit and his father is dead. The clan gathers for Mother's wake and the brothers and sisters have enough feuds on the front burner to fill the kitchen, the parlor (with coffin) and spill over into the bedrooms. Page after page they shriek at one another airing hurt feelings, grievances, accusations, and one brother delivers lectures on the thick-headedness of Irish Catholics in general (""What in God's name did they use their minds for?""). Occasionally an amusing remark comes through, for example re those other religions: ""Christ said on this rock I will built my church. He didn't say rocks."" After the battle is fully joined, Belle leaves in a huff and defiantly takes David along, who, poor child, is delighted. That tape recorder behind the sagging sofa has picked up some authentic noise, but it needs finer editing than Allen has managed up until now.