When Stanley inherits a Victorian era house from his late grandmother in Victoria, British Columbia, the only way he can afford to keep it is to rent out rooms—a task for which he is woefully unprepared. His salvation and his burden is that Mary Alice, a take-charge matron from next door, is inclined to manage both the house, named Shady Shingles, and Stanley’s life. Not to be underestimated in this ménage a trois is Captain, a long-lived parrot. For the humans in the story, Captain is a silent partner who hears everything but says nothing aloud. Readers, meanwhile, are privy to Captain’s unspoken thoughts, which cut to the chase with amusing bluntness. This trinity of odd characters reacts with the various clients who come to inhabit Shady Shingles—a serious history major, a steely German, a glib used-car salesman, and a same-gender couple with a knack for upsetting the status quo. The result is a humour-filled story that combines pathos and the absurd, sprinkled liberally with observations about the human condition as Stanley confronts some of the grim realities of life that we all must face.