When both of Eddie Dickens's parents catch a disease that makes them turn yellow, go a bit crinkly round the edges and smell of hot water bottles, it's agreed he should go and stay with relatives at their house Awful End. Unfortunately for Eddie, those relatives are Mad Uncle Jack and Even-Madder Aunt Maud, and it doesn't look as if the three of them are ever going to reach their destination ...
Eddie Dickens narrowly avoids an explosion, a hot-air balloon and arrest, only to find himself falling head-over heels for a girl with a face like a camel's, and into the hands of a murderous gang of escaped convicts who have 'one little job for him to do'.
Eddie had been given the task of travelling to America to look after his family's interests there. But his life is never that simple; especially with a potential stowaway in his trunk, and Lady Constance Bustle at his side. She's a professional 'travelling companion', whose previous employers seem to have died under the most remarkable and unfortunate circumstances ...