Paragon Paul Nisbet may cop all the prizes, muses our hero Will Thomas, ""But I shall have to my credit the longest list of successfully executed practical jokes in the history of Riverton public education."" That's until best friend Bull Clammett--who looks dumb and misses nothing--leads him to think that Paul will get the one medal, for a history paper, that Will's been counting on. Then, tolerance at an end, he devises an elaborate scheme--involving the multiple deception of mousey Lilly Fentrice--to embarrass Paul on the Big Occasion. Parallel trouble is brewing, meanwhile, among Riverton's older generation: poor, formidable Aunt Jessica's rich, gentle friend Mrs. Benson is about to be done out of her senile late husband's estate by Mr. Nisbet, who also doesn't just happen to be Mr. Thomas' employer. Of course Aunt Jessica prevails, and deserves to--on her own scrupulous merit as well as the merits of her case; but the fate of the medal remains enticingly in doubt, along with Will's next right-or-wrong step. For 1923, the stress on women's lib is a bit of a strain, and for today or any time, Lilly's blossoming is forced. Still, Newton has a nice easy way of putting words in Will's mouth--without telling all--that puts the reader in his place, wondering.