Mr Hoppy, a retired bachelor, harbours a secret passion for his neighbour, the lovely Mrs Silver. Unfortunately, she lavishes all her affection on another. . . . Alfie, her pet tortoise. Mr Hoppy's wildly ingenious plot to defeat his rival and win the love of his lady will delight and amaze, involving as it does a cryptic riddle and no fewer than a hundred and forty tortoises, large and small.