Still 10 or so pages left, but when the child Patrick enters the story near its midpoint, this book becomes gripping, and all the cleverness (Edwardian repartee), though still there, loses its importance (maybe in the later books it will become less obtrusive?):
'Come up here immediately.....!'
Now Patrick knew where the voice was coming from. He looked up and saw his father leaning over the balcony.
'What have I done wrong?' he asked, but too quietly to be heard. His father looked so furious that Patrick lost all conviction of his own innocence. With growing alarm he tried to work backwards from his father's rage to what his own crime might be.
By the time he had climbed the steep stairs to father's bedroom, Patrick was ready to apologise for anything, but still felt a lingering desire to know what he was apologising for. In the doorway he stopped and asked again, audibly this time, 'What have I done wrong?'
'Close the door behind you,' said his father. 'And come over here.' He sounded disgusted by the obligation the child had thrust upon him.
As Patrick slowly crossed the floor he tried to think of some way to placate his father. Maybe if he said something clever he'd be forgiven, but he felt extraordinarily stupid and could only think over and over: two times two equals four, two times two equals four.
It's become a book I can't put down.