The world created by Margaret Boylen is special; its resemblance to the real world is shattered by the intrusion of some startling grotesquerie, some bizarre fact that makes witnesses of us all. The Five Little Mortrudes were orphaned when their parents were run over by a tractor ""stitching and stapling"" them into the earth. The children became famous because of the Murders and were dramatized according to their particular supposed characters: romantic Farnham, noble Jessica, clever Gidley, gifted Fleanor, and good Olizer (known as Little Od). But the real nature of the enigmatic Mortrules was never apparent even to their guardian, Willard Calhoun, who created the notion that they were poor, as all orphans should be. As soon as they could the Mortrudes put the town of Clorinda behind them to make their fortunes in the world and returned only 21 years later when Calhoun decided to give them their inheritance. They had new roles now: Sailor Farnham, Scholar Gidley, Actress Jessica, Author Eleanor (Little Od died at 11 trying to fly). To disabuse Willard of the idea that he ever understood them, the Mortrudes reveal that Little Od actually killed their parents and then later killed himself. The Mortrudes remain superior to events to the end, telling as much as they please, withholding as much as will mystify. Though if it weren't for their author's highly imaginative and witty prose style the Mortrudes could hardly stand by themselves.