'There!' Pop said. 'There's the house. There's Gore Court for you. What about that, eh? How's that strike you? Better than St Paul's, ain't it, better than St Paul's?'
And so Pop Larkin - junk-dealer, family man and Dragon's Blood connoisseur - manages to sell the nearby crumbling, tumbling country home to city dwellers Mr and Mrs Jerebohm for a pretty bundle of notes. Now he can build his daughter Mariette the pool she's long been nagging him for.
But the Larkin's new neighbours aren't quite so accepting of country ways - especially Pop's little eccentricities. In fact, it's not long before a wobbly boat, a misplaced pair of hands and Mrs Jerebohm's behind have Pop up before a magistrate . . .
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
'Pop Larkin, Ma and their progeny . . . are essentially English of the rich and ribald England of Chaucer and Shakespeare. A superb and timeless comedy'
As funny as Evelyn Waugh and as enchanting as Laurie Lee's Cider with Rosie. Don't miss it
The Larkins live - these novels please us by escaping definition
Like Wodehouse's Jeeves, Bates' Larkins must continue in their own delightful milieu - the Kentish countryside