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First published in UK: January 20 1956 by Herbert Jenkins, London
First published in US: September 28 1959 by Simon & Schuster, New York

Russian translation

  • Francuzskie kanikuly by N. Trauberg: 2003

'Here we are, young, ardent idealistic, yearning for life and love and laughter, and what do we get? Eggs.'

But with a nest-egg of another kind, the Trent sisters - Terry and Jo - fly from the chicken farm the chicken farm in Bensonburg to the fleshpots of France, where even the eagle eye of elder sister Kate cannot prevent muddle and mismatch. Decayed French aristocrats, two mineral-water millionaires - one trouserless - a good-looking Resistance hero, a policeman with the disposition of a snapping turtle, a publisher on the razzle, and formidable and ambitious aunt all add to the mayhem. And what with the fate of the Umbrella Club and the whereabouts of the dossier Quibolle, it is a little difficult for Terry's chickens to come home to roost along the flight path of true love...

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Click for enlarge book cover


J. Russell Clutterbuck Publisher of Winch & Clutterbuck who lives in Bensonburg, Long Island with his third wife. He loves to eat.
Kate Trent Eldest daughter of the late playwright Edgar Trent bought a hen and bee farm in Bensonburg
Josephine Trent Prettiest of the Trent girls who loves Henry
(Terry) Teresa Trent Youngest sister who loves Jeff and poses as Jo's maid, Fellowes
Henry Weems Minor partner in a law firm who loves Jo. Solid and unadventurous.
Fellowes The name chosen to represent the maid of the rich Miss Trent
(Old Nick) Nicolas Jules St. Xavier Auguste, Marquis de Maufringneuse Jeff's father, a rogue who had married Hermione and winds up as head waiter married to a French cook
(Jeff) Jefferson, Comte d'Escrignon Old Nick's son by his first marriage to the American Loretta Ann Potter. Novellist who loves Terry.
Chester Todd Amiable rich husband of a famous violinist, Jane Parker. Jeff's friend and Mavis' brother.
(Butch) Frederick Carpenter Wealthy American who loves Mavis
Hermione Pegler Mavis' aunt and Nick's former wife
Philippe Bartender in the Hotel Splendide at Roville
Mavis Todd Dumb, obedient and wealthy niece of Hermione's engaged to Butch
Pierre Alexandre Boissonade Commissaire of Police at Roville
Sir Percy Bunt (*)
M. de la Hourmerie (*)

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