In 1938, young Scot Tullis’s family are on a motoring holiday in Germany when their car breaks down. Scot falls asleep, and wakes to find that his parents have disappeared; going off in search of them, he instead finds a house inhabited by an old man and his seven children, and full of strange toys. The old man offers Scot a place to stay; the days turn into months, with no sign of Scot’s parents. I like the idea of this story, but it doesn’t quite flourish for me in practice, as the prose doesn’t reach the level of texture and atmosphere for which it seems to be aiming.

Rating: ***