This is the second of the ‘A Staircase in Surrey’ quintet, and the first in chronological order. Duncan Pattullo arrives in Oxford, destined to be housed off the quadrangle his father has chosen simply for its architectural and visual appeal. On the staircase in Surrey, Duncan meets those who are to become his new friends and companions, and there occurs all of the usual student antics and digressions, described by Stewart with his characteristic wit, to amuse and enthral the reader. After a punting accident, however, the girl who is in love with Duncan suffers as a result of his self-sacrificing actions. His cousin, Anna, is also involved in an affair, but she withholds the name of her lover, despite being pregnant. This particular twist reaches an ironical conclusion towards the end of the novel, in another of Stewart’s favourite locations; Italy. Indeed, Young Pattullo covers all of the writer’s favourite subjects and places; the arts, learning, mystery and intrigue, whilst ranging from his much loved Oxford, through Scotland and the inevitable Italian venue. This second volume of the acclaimed series can be read in order, or as a standalone novel.
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