1900 and the town of Tory, III, (pop. 456) as viewed by peeping, prying, eavesdropping little Helene Bradford, the doctor's daughter. She and her best friend, Gracie, whose father is the minister, head into what turns out to be an exciting summer when a stranger, Winton Fanton, comes to a funeral and loses his heart, not only to the town, but also to Helene's mother. The youngsters make an innocent visit to a ""hoarhouse"" when Gracie's father hastens to Springfield to legalize a marriage; they take sides in the culinary competition between two embattled matrons; they get bicyles; Helene pinchhits for her father and ""saves"" a patient's life; they meet failure when they try to work a romance for their Sunday school teacher; they are confronted with a big problem when Gracie's mother elopes with the barber but returns without scandal. And it is Helene's mother who keeps it the best possible of all worlds when she goes to visit Fenton -- and comes back. The amiability of in its period decor and detail and a rocking chair relaxation in its homegrown unpretentiousness angles this for the reader looking for a ""nice family"" story. Serialized in a .