A series of petty thefts, then a stolen shipment of TVs, then a stolen car alert the Vicar's independent children, Mervyn, Minty and Pip. Pip is packed off to the hospital with appendicitis, older brother James is lovesick and no use at all to Mervyn and Minty but his girl Belinda is. The motive and the object of the crime remain obscure at the end--are the crooks just after Belinda's mother's pearls? are they smugglers?--but tracking the thieves is lively entertainment with the plucky Tabor kids, bewildering Belinda with her two personalities, and even grumpy James. Told mostly in schoolboy British dialogue it's rather jolly reading but a rum letdown at the close.