BAGTHORPES ABROAD by Helen Cresswell


Email this review


After the Junior Bagthorpes have forged their usual improvements in their school reports, after little cousin Daisy Parker's pet goat has gotten soused and demolished the sitting room--then, the madly eccentric, squabbling Bagthorpes are off to Wales, where Father has rented a haunted house: ""authentic atmosphere"" for a TV script. This is not, as promised or threatened, the last of the series: indeed, it takes the Bagthorpes only through the second chaotic day of their Welsh stay--in what turns out to be a ""hovel,"" where the guaranteed array of ghosts may or may not materialize. The chaos, sadly, is not chiefly the outcome of Bagthorpe vagaries: Father's misanthropic bluster, Mother's relentless optimism, Grandma's perpetual warfare with Father, the younger Bagthropes' various addictions (ham radio, computers, etc.), or even cook Mrs. Fosdyke's collapse at sight of the kitchen. No, the climatic round of melees is set off, once again, by ""irredeemable"" Daisy (age five) and her all-engorging goat--come with her light-headed mother and smug father (Mr. Bagthorpe's #1 nemesis) to stay, insufferably, at a nearby castle. Father apoplectically attacks Billy Goat Gruff, to the further destruction of Bagthorpe property; and a seance with two local policemen (one a relative of the ghost-guaranteeing realtor) blows up when Daisy flashes the police car's blue light, sounds its ear-splitting siren, and disengages its hand-brake. Another pair of police officers descend, one a psychic, and a second seance is averted only by littlest Bagthorpe Rosie remembering the unopened school reports. More frenzy, mayhem, and mutual insults than comic lunacy--that can end satisfactorily only in the end of Daisy and the goat.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1984
Publisher: Macmillan