As part of the 1990 centenary celebrations of Richmal Crompton's birth, which falls on November 15, this book has been written by her oldest close relative - her niece Margaret Disher. This is the first ever account written from inside the family. It covers many bizarre happenings and unusual and adventurous people, and especially the author's eccentric brother Tommy. The revelation that he was the proptotype for William, having been closely studied throughout his formative years, is the highlight of this account. The author describes her brother, from his earliest days and especially how he got caught up in various adventures, some of which found their way into the 38 William books. We hear how he was a pleasant looking boy, but always scruffy and untidy. It comes as no surpirise that, as he grew up, Tommy became just what one would expect of William: although excelling at sports, he failed all his school exams. He lost his first job in three months, then when he was taken into his fathers pickle factory, he fell into a barrel of brine.
After a row with his father he enlisted in the regular army and when on guard duty at the Tower of London, he was court martialled for losing his rifle. After Aunt Richmal had paid #30 to rescue him from the army, he joined the Westminster Bank where, in time, he had charge of a bullion van, responsible for delivering vast sums around the bank's branches. During service in North Africa - not quite single-handed - he caused Rommel to retreat. His many adventures, his non-conformist character and his romantic enterprises make amusing reading, as does the background information on the family's life in an era so different from the present.