Is Maximilian Black (an acknowledged pseudonym) the long lost son of the Applebys? Found as an infant on the lid of a trash can and raised by (under) worldly characters in London's least fashionable warehouses, Maximilian is unexpectedly claimed--thirteen years later--by Mrs. Appleby and relocated to posh Mayfair where he starts this autobiography. But his is no ordinary identity crisis: he has intriguing friends (all adept at Survival Without Pocket Money) and a brash, backstreet philosophy to help him face his much-changed circumstances. The conventional Applebys--distant father, warm, fuzzy mother, rather well-behaved brother--are bland next to his previous roommates: Crackers, a mothering sort without all his marbles; Gunk, an accomplished pickpocket; and Billy Boy, a con man with a fast line for every occasion. How Max finds out who he is (and where he's going) is too complicated to explain here but it involves winning an essay contest, losing his innocence (no honor among thieves), and the intervention of a sympathetic psychiatrist. The characters border on TV types but Max makes the story move easily (and not altogether predictably) and much of the dialogue (time ""for tea and emotion"") is saucy.