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In the last installment of Cresswell's family comedy series, the young Bagthorpes plotted together to drive out their visiting relations with home-bred maggots. This time, desirous of evicting rich, eccentric Great-Aunt Lucy and her Pekingese Wung Fu (both invited by Mr. B. with an eye to Lucy's fortune), they encourage four-year-old cousin Daisy Parker in her new hobby of holding funerals. Daisy, currently in an Intimations of Immortality phase, has run out of dead animals to bury and switched, at teenaged William's suggestion, to chops from the freezer--and William is later revealed as a secret grave robber, devouring the ""corpses"" in the dead of night, in reaction to Mr. B.'s ban on meat purchases during his budget-conscious Self Sufficiency phase. And so it goes, with Tess playing music to her seedlings and threatening ""to exchange Strings to her Bow for Bees in her Bonnet,"" with Great-Aunt Lucy landing in hospital and Daisy terrifying her wardmates with cool predictions of their times of demise; and with the disastrous extended-family dinner, which closes each volume like the obligatory mad chase in a TV series, being here effected by the coming together at table of Bagthorpes, Parkers, Aunt Lucy, Daisy's new goat, her tureen of white maggots, Lucy's Wung Fu, and Grandma Bag's new kitten Thomas the Second. Even before this fourth adventure, the Bagthorpes' windup keys had begun to show, and they are here more evident than ever. Still, the frenetic family hasn't begun to wind down, and with only one more volume to go, readers will want to follow them through whatever catastrophic finale Cresswell has in store.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1979
Publisher: Macmillan