Before George elects to swipe Mrs. Sheldrake's Manticora--a small antique version of a hideous mythical beast, with a toothy grin and a jeweled spiked tail--from the Sheldrake's London manse, everything seems pretty much black and white. Mum, Dad and his four younger brothers live in a tenement and the Sheldrakes--Mr. and Mrs. and Matthew, who married George's sister--are so rich! And it is surely a good thing to buy Mum a house with the money he'll get from the stolen goods. But while George is deep in crime and having Manticoran nightmares, he notices that even Mrs. Sheldrake and the art dealer who launders stolen goods have their better side--and the whole caper seems on a downhill path. At the dose George--who had whipped up a fine copy of the Manticora from metal, bone and glass--is able to rescue the adults from their unexpected predicaments, although his own decidedly more honest future may always be somewhat clouded by what he has done. Talky, unbelievable happenings but George is bluntly likable.