The farm lies in the shadow of a hill, and the farmyard rarely sees the sun, even in summer, when the sukebind hangs heavy in the branches. Here live the Starkadders - Aunt Ada Doom, Judith, Amos, Seth, Reuben, Elfine... They lead messy, untidy lives, full of dark thoughts, moody silences, and sudden noisy quarrels. That is, until their attractive young cousin arrives from London. Neat, sensible, efficient, Flora Poste cannot bear messes (they are so uncivilized). She begins to tidy up the Starkadders' lives at once . . .