' "Could I see the chairs, please?" . . . "Chairs, chairs. What does the child mean?" . . . Oh, she means the chairs in your hall, the ones your husband had covered with skin. I'm afraid she is a morbid little thing." She giggled and bounced about on her rickety chair'
Her father dies and the ten-year-old Frances, her mother and assorted siblings are taken under the wing of their horsey relations, led by bullying Aunt Lawrence. Their new home is small and they can't afford a maid. Mother occasionally dabs at the furniture with a duster and sister Polly rules the kitchen. Living in patronised poverty isn't much fun but Frances makes friends with Mrs. Alexander who has a collection of monkeys and a yellow motor car, and the young widow, Vanda, who is friendly if the Major isn't due to call. But times do change and one day Aunt Lawrence gets her come-uppance and Frances goes to live in the house with 'the skin chairs'.
First published in 1962, this quirky novel describing the adult world with a young girl's eye, resounds with Barbara Comyns' original voice.