Laughter on the Stairs Nichols, Beverley 1998. ISBN 0-88192-460-1 (cloth U.S. $24.95) 260pp Timber Press, 133 S.W. Second Avenue, Suite 450, Portland, OR 97204-3527.- Beverley Nichols in Laughter on the Stairs, originally published in 1953 and recently reissued by Timber Press, gives an account of the renovation and operation of Nichols' English country estate earlier this century. This book focusses on the house and grounds of Merry Hall, forming the middle volume in a trilogy which satires some the same sorts of people and situations lampooned in the Jeeves series by P. G. Wodehouse and in the Mapp and Lucia books by E. F. Benson. Though much of the material in Laughter on the Stairs concerns the house itself, the author includes ample material about plants and gardening to justify interest from BSA members. The value of this book is for light amusement, of which this reviewer unfortunately found little. If someone in the BSA wants a good laugh from material that deals with academia and its pitfalls, the recent Bear Went Over the Mountain by William Kotzwinkle might be preferable to Laughter on the Stairs. However, given the reviewer's similar reaction to both Laughter on the Stairs and the Mapp and Lucia series by E. F. Benson, those enjoying the latter might give the former a try. - Douglas Darnowski, Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana IL 61801
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