The author of Lighter Than Air (p. 630, 1961) trips another light fantastic in his second novel. His take-off point is the ministration as Welcome Wagon hostess in Blue Shores, a Connecticut commuting town, of the sprightly, warm-hearted songstress, Bee Preminger. Bee is thirty-eight, the mother of twin fifteen-year-old sons, and a bandleader's widow. She is faithful, and there's the rub. For on one of her ministering angel missions, she falls plop into the lap of very eligible Bill Boles, forty-odd and father of twin fourteen-year-old girls (which Bee doesn't know about until the very end of his siege), who is determined to marry Bee. Bee is skittish, and as she skits about, we get to know a ""peck of people"", who are ""mixed together well"" and ""simmered until tender"" -- as per author Boyd's open book recipe. The entourage includes the Dorns, young East German refugees who have lost their daughter behind the Berlin Wall; the Oongas from Zanzesi whose reciprocal Wish Patanga brings her across the seas to them; a young man from Jat who plays the kizar and the magical Fabolas who decide to make a toy of it and provide him royalties to return home to his wife and child; Paul Vernon, who sets up house with Tina Totter some three blocks from home, is called on emergency to separate misplaced Charlie Wren in the all-automatic Nightingale Hospital and who turns up at the end with his proper mate while Tina takes off with the interior decorator.. and others... The fun is a bit forced here, the fantasy sometimes fails to fly, but the air of good cheer mainly dispensed by our hostess and narrator is genuine.