Gresham & Doyle (2011) trade paperback edition, 365 pp.
ISBN 978-0-9787634-2-8 $14.95 U.S.
STRANGE DOINGS AT ORKNEY FARM . . .
Round a corner of the house it came -- a huge, ungainly form, shambling along on its four oddly-curved, paddle-like limbs. A deep-voiced growl could be heard rumbling in its throat.
The moon's silvered beams were shining full upon it, when of a suddenty the monster reared up onto its haunches and stood a while observing us.
"We must have our revenge!" sang out Stroppy, who of the lads appeared the more inebriated. "For the Foud's sake, have a taste o' this, ye brute!"
In a fit of courage he drew an object from his pocket and hurled it at the beast -- a large, well-aimed object, which sailed like a shot from his hand and struck the looming giant square in the face . . .
A minor canon of Bogminster Cathedral; a squab little man, meek and rosy, come to hunt flat-heads in Brindle Forest with his colleague the rector and Mr. Rucastle
Shock-headed stable-lad at Orkney Farm
Mrs. Penny Bunce
An aged wisp of a lady in gray tweed, dwelling at Long Puddle; aunt to the Henslowes and Mrs. Jarlcot
Junior partner in the legal firm of Chortle & Cheek, and longstanding legal adviser to the Trefoils of Orkney Farm; an energetic little man, jaunty and smiling, and an amateur conchologist
Mr. Grub Crawley
The sexton and stone-cutter of Plumley St. Olave; a little round man, fond of angling on Isham's Pool
Mr. Provender Creamclot
A wizened old fen farmer
Mrs. Dolly Crowstep
Once a village belle, now the pleasant and amiable wife of the rector of Plumley St. Olave
The Rev. Mr. Samuel Crowstep
The rector of Plumley St. Olave, and husband of the preceding; a spruce, genteel figure, and an inveterate hunter of flat-heads
Sir Latimus Droole
A little, withered old gentleman, a specimen of the old aristocratic sort, and the very last man in Plumley to wear a pigtail
Former games mistress and bossy-boots at a girls' school, now retired; a starched, pert-looking woman, with a mania for archery
A cheeky squirrel, to whom this tale is told
The lanky old groom of Orkney Farm
Long the chief attendant and confidant of Mr. Magnus Trefoil; a gentle, small man, with orange hair and mustaches
Miss Ada Henslowe
A light-hearted young woman dwelling at Market Snailsby, and a cousin of the Trefoils; summoned to Orkney Farm to arrange for the education of little Mary Trefoil
Mr. Guy Henslowe
Her favorite adult cousin, and nearest living relation; a gentleman bachelor of dashing manners and appearance, residing at Culliford in Fenshire
Housemaid at Orkney Farm; a slight, plain-looking girl, under the thumb(s) of Noola and Mrs. Tuck
Mr. George Jarlcot
A stout gentleman of smart appearance, bald as a baby's elbow, good-humored, and something of a joker; the master of Littlegates, in Lingonshire
Mrs. Madeleine Jarlcot
Wife of the preceding, and cousin to the Henslowes and Trefoils; a woman of considerable personal beauty
An itinerant pedlar, or kramkar; an undersized, untidy, shaggy-haired, fierce-eyed little creature of a man
Mrs. Bess Linkinhorn
Landlady of the Hop Toad public house in Plumley; a good-looking widow, and a horsewoman of some celebrity
Little Jack Nag
A stout, sure-footed little Zetland pony, or sheltie; a last gift to Mary Trefoil from her father
A brawny, blustery, obstreperous squirrel, residing in a spruce-tree at Orkney Farm
The aged housekeeper of Orkney Farm; the very picture of a faithful old Norse governante
Another of the squirrels at Orkney Farm; regarded as an arbiter of taste in the neighborhood
Mr. Philip Oldcorn
Miss Henslowe's legal adviser; a bland young man, son of Mr. Anthony Oldcorn of Market Snailsby
Another old fen farmer, living out on the flats to the southward of Plumley; a colleague of Farmer Creamclot's
A self-important physician; a big, bluff man, who for some years has been fattening the churchyard of Plumley St. Olave
A former slodger-child, now dwelling at Orkney Farm
The smallest of the squirrels at Orkney Farm; soft-spoken, and a peacemaker
Mr. Tom Posthumus
A mysterious, melancholy-looking stranger from out of town, with something of a scholarly air; now lodging at the old hermitage of St. Guthlac
A free unattached bachelor of independent means, who has made something of a name for himself in amateur theatricals in and around Bogminster
Impetuous stable-lad at Orkney Farm
Good-natured gelding at Orkney Farm, whose chief occupation is to draw the shay-cart
Chief landowner and local grandee of Plumley, dwelling at his ancestral seat of Croyland, just outside the town gates
Little curly-haired spaniel belonging to Mary Trefoil; lords it over Sunbeam and the other horses at Orkney Farm
Mr. Igneus Trefoil
Younger brother of the following, and uncle and legal guardian of Mary Trefoil; an important figure in sporting society in the shire, with his own acres at Folkstone Gizzard
Mr. Magnus Trefoil
Formerly the master (or "Foud") of Orkney Farm, and the father of Mary Trefoil; believed to be deceased
Miss Mary Trefoil
Pretty little orphan daughter and only child of the preceding; cousin to the Henslowes and Mrs. Jarlcot
Chief cook at Orkney Farm; of ample girth, thickset and mutton-fisted, with two boiled eyes
Also included in this volume is Ebenezer Crackernut -- the delightful tale of a very bad squirrel, and the author's first Western Lights story for children.
Featured image: Detail from Moonlight Walk (oil on canvas) by John AtkinsonGrimshaw (1836-93).