"I write this sitting at the kitchen sink" is the first line of a novel about love, sibling rivalry, and a bohemian existence in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Cassandra Mortmin's journal records her fadingly glamorous stepmother, her beautiful, wistful older sister, and the man to whom they owe both their isolation and poverty: Father. The author of one experimental novel, and a minor cause celebre, he has since suffered from writer's block and is determined to drag his family down with him.
"Well, that was a surprise"
When the Dearly's Dalmatians have their first litter of puppies (fifteen in all) everyone is delighted. But their joy is shattered when the pups are kidnapped! The humans don't have a clue as to who the culprit is, but the smartest dogs in London are on the case, and on the trail of fur-loving Cruella de Vil, who will stop at nothing to have a Dalmatian fur coat!
"An amazingly sweet story"
Toby Jones and Holliday Grainger star in a new BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of Dodie Smith's enduringly popular coming-of-age novel. In the 1930s, 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain lives in a crumbling ruin of a castle in the Suffolk countryside. Her father, an author wrestling with writer's block, spends his time reading detective stories; her bohemian stepmother, Topaz, is an artist's model; and her beautiful older sister, Rose, is determined to escape the poverty of their existence - ideally by marriage to a rich man.
Pongo and Missis Pongo are a pair of Dalmatians who live with the newly married Mr. and Mrs. Dearly and their two nannies. Mr. Dearly is a "financial wizard" who has been granted life-long tax exemption and lent a house on the Outer Circle in Regent's Park in return for wiping out the government debt. The dogs consider the humans their pets, but allow the humans to think that they are the owners. Missis gives birth to a litter of 15 puppies.
"A lot of fun"
The head of the Mortmain family is Cassandra Mortmain’s father, a writer suffering from writer's block who has not published anything since his first book, a hit entitled, Jacob Wresstling. Ten years before the story begins, he took out a forty-year lease on a dilapidated but beautiful castle, hoping to find either inspiration or isolation there; now, his family is selling off the furniture to buy food.
Pongo lives happily with his human pets Mr. and Mrs. Dearly in a large house in Regent's Park. When his wife Missis produces a litter of 15 beautiful pups, life seems wonderfully complete. But the mysterious disappearance of the puppies suddenly throws everything into turmoil. Pongo, one of the keenest brains in Dogdom, quickly realises that he and Missis are the only hope for their youngsters' survival.
"Love the Book, Hate this Edition"
Waking up late one day, Pongo finds that none of the humans will wake up. He finds out that the same has happened all over the country, and then dogs everywhere hear the voice of Lord Sirius the dogstar, offering to free them from their humans.