Peter Dickinson is too imaginative, intricate and appealing a writer to be confined to any one genre; it would be a disservice to classify this as a ""mystery"" since it has every other kind of pleasure going for it. More than the guard has changed at Buckingham Palace; the current Royal Family consists of Victor II, an M.D. and a great patron of the loo; Isabella, his Spanish born huife (she has a disarming difficulty with w's) who may or may not have passed on the family genetic problem--hemophilia; their son Albert who's mostly interested in his zoo; and Louise, their daughter, who worries a great deal about her bloodline. The austerity is well within their royal concern--shall they cut down on the sealing wax?--but then there are some dirty tricks starting with the toad which appears at breakfast under a covered dish and ending with a bombing. While from time to time the pet mynah bird keeps muttering, ""George III should never have occurred."" Still the heart of the book is the relationship between Louise and her old nurse Durdy--Durdy who has known every royal backside from infancy on--Durdy who now lies dying strung up with wires to a monitor--Durdy who helps Louise realize that the time has come for her to stop princessing and start living. . . . Fit for. . . well anyone of any age--a warm, raffish, exciting story which should charm you out of your everyday skin and improve your disposition for days.