'Home looks nice. Allus does though, don't it? Perfick'
And so the Larkins - Pop, Ma, Mariette, Zinnia, Petunia, Primrose, Victoria and Montgomery - return from an outing for fish and chips and ice cream one May evening. There, amid the rustic charms of home, they discover a visitor: one Cedric Charlton, Her Majesty's inspector of taxes.
Mr Charlton is visiting to find out why junk-dealer Pop hasn't paid his tax - but nothing's that simple at the Larkins. Mariette takes a shine to 'Charley' - as Pop calls him - and before long the family have introduced the uncomplaining inspector to the delights of country living: the lusty scents of wild flowers, the pleasures of a bottle of Dragon's Blood, cold cream dribbled over a bowl of strawberries and hot, hot summer nights.
In fact, soon Charley can't see any reason to return to the office at all . . .
They are absolute comfort books . . . All five titles are being rereleased just in time for summer
Pop is as sexy, genial, generous, and boozy as ever. Ma is a worthy match for him in all these qualities
As funny as Evelyn Waugh and as enchanting as Laurie Lee's Cider with Rosie. Don't miss it
Pop Larkin, Ma and their progeny . . . are essentially English of the rich and ribald England of Chaucer and Shakespeare. A superb and timeless comedy
A perfick piece of entertainment
A wistful daydream about innocence and happiness
A pulsing comedy of country manners. A five-alarm blaze of a book. Just about perfick
A gently, anarchic wish-fulfilling daydream
The Larkins live - these novels please us by escaping definition
This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the publication of The Darling Buds of May. Read on for an excerpt from H. E. Bates' classic novella in which the Larkin family go for a drive in 'perfick wevver!