Almost nine-year-old Bella Dodd, bright, cheerful, and blind (""joy unconfined,"" as Mrs. Golightly describes her), was abandoned in infancy by her mother and now, when her father dies, is sent for a vacation with her dour grandfather Dodd in the country. Despite his gruff manner she is happy there, and enjoys the company of motherless 14-year-old John Thompson, who takes her on out of kindness and then succumbs like everyone else to her pert charm. Cookson lathers on the blind child's sweet innocence, and it's inevitable that Grandpa too will melt and keep her--even though he doesn't believe her tales of an old friend named Mrs. Golightly, a veritable font of wise adages whom Bella persists in quoting. Because of these supposed tales, Grandpa also pooh-poohs Bella's frantic report of finding a man bound and gagged near the big house next door. But it's true, and before everyone is settled comfortably Bella finds herself trapped in a dungeon with John and a kidnapped millionaire. . . while Grandpa frets at home with unexpected visitor Mrs. Golightly and newcomer ""Mrs. Campbell,"" who turns out to be none other than Bella's long-lost mother. And who, as though that weren't enough, will now be Mrs. Thompson. This time round, Cookson doesn't even try to disguise the old-time conventions of sentimental melodrama that she plies with such relish.