When cousin Snubby and Great-Uncle Robert come to stay with the Lyntons, the children learn of a mysterious theft of valuable, historic papers from a locked room, and Snubby's imagination runs riot. But little do any of them know how close he is to the truth.
It's the first day of the holidays, and Blyton starts us off with the description of Roger and Diana's scrumptious breakfast. The Lynton family is in a frenzy of activity to arrange the house for the arrival of two guests—Snubby and Great-Uncle Robert—on the same day. The combination of the idiotic Snubby, lunatic Loony, spiteful Sardine and pompous Uncle Robert seems like a recipe for disaster, but disaster strikes even before they are under the same roof.