Eddie Dickens is sent off to stay with his aunt and uncle and a
riotously funny comedy of errors ensues.
When both Eddie Dickens's parents catch a disease that makes them turn yellow, go a bit crinkly around the edges, and smell of hot water bottles, it's agreed he should go and stay with relatives at their house, Awful End. Unfortunately for Eddie, those relatives are Mad Uncle Jack and Even-Madder Aunt Maud. . . .
This hilarious historical spoof, the first in the Eddie Dickens trilogy, has been called "a scrumptious cross between Dickens and Monty Python."
A Message to My American Readers
At no extra cost
Greetings from across the Atlantic! I'm so delighted that A House Called Awful End has been published in the United States that I want to say a few special words to my American readers. (Yes: YOU.)
The story you're about to read was originally written in installments for my nephew Ben, who was at boarding school in England while his parents were living in Russia. Instead of sending him letters about how many cups of tea I'd drunk or how hard it had rained (there's plenty of tea drinking and rain in England), I decided to send him a silly adventure story in installments, with a new episode every two weeks. The book you now have in your hand (or clenched between your teeth, if you're very nearsighted or hungry) is the result. Of course, when I was writing those letters, I had no idea that they'd end up becoming this book, but they did! May your lives be full of such good fortune, too.
--Philip Ardagh, 2002
Crinkly Around the Edges
In which Eddie Dickens is sent away for his own good
When Eddie Dickens was eleven
years old, both his parents caught some awful disease that made them turn
yellow, go a bit crinkly around the edges, and smell of old hot-water bottles.
There were lots of diseases like that in those days. Perhaps it had something to do with all that thick fog, those knobbly cobbled streets, and the fact that everyone went everywhere by horse . . . even to the bathroom. Who knows?
"It's very contagious," said his father.
"And catching," said his mother, sucking on an ice cube shaped like a famous general.
They were in Eddie's parents' bedroom, which was very dark and dingy and had no furniture in it except for a large double bed, an even larger wardrobe, and thirty-two different types of chair designed to make you sit up straight even if your wrists were handcuffed to your ankles.
"Why are you sucking ...
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