A funny, surprisingly sweet satire by the author of The Adrian Mole Diaries (1986). ``I have no money; British Telecom is threatening me with disconnection; my mother thinks she is living in 1953; my husband is starving himself to death; my daughter has embarked on an affair with my carpet fitter; my son is due in court on Thursday; and my dog has fleas....'' That's how Liz Windsor, the former queen of England, describes her current situation. Liz--together with her handbag, hubby Philip, sister Margaret, Charles, Di, grandchildren, daughter Anne, and the Queen Mother--has been booted out of Buckingham Palace by the newly elected, antimonarchist People's Republican Party. Their new abode is a council flat community known not so affectionately as ``Hell Close.'' Of course, the Aubusson carpets don't fit; Liz has trouble figuring out that she has to put a coin in the heater to make it work; strange slang words start creeping into the vocabulary of the little princes; and the neighbors are a fright. But the unsceptered royal family makes do. Charles turns to gardening and rioting, Di decorates her flat, and, with saintly restraint, the former queen endures the attentions of a social worker who wants to help her with her ``trauma.'' Meanwhile, the country goes to the dogs--indeed, to get out of debt, the new PM enters into a treaty with Tokyo, making England a veritable colony of Japan. For obvious reasons, Townsend's novel has been a big success in England. Readers on this side of the Atlantic will find it diverting, too--chaotic, silly, with no real harm meant.