Herewith, a cast of characters for the new novel featured at the right, all packed into a big house on Ninth Street in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in the summer of 1944.
The widowed matriarch, Mamie Buffon, and, confined to an upstairs bedroom, her unpredictable, slightly loony bachelor brother Iggy.
Seven daughters, the oldest, repressed sexpot Wanda, with her thoroughly ignored bird-watching husband Roger, a munitions engineer with a private laboratory in the basement. They have an eleven-year-old daughter, Tootsie, who is growing up way too fast.
Sweet, responsible Button, disastrously married to unemployed Buddy, the horniest horn-toad in Chattanooga.
Emily Sue, who in spite of her mental impairment may be the sanest person in the house.
Becca and Lynette, flirtatious, jive-talkin' be-boppers, interested in nylons and servicemen on leave.
Reclusive Alma, with weird religious fixations.
And Bitsy, the pretty but ditzy youngest daughter who makes the mistake of falling hard for the totally wrong guy.
Add to this volatile mix Eva, the family's elderly black maid, and her beautiful seventeen-year-old great-granddaughter Tometta, who is filling in as maid while Eva ails.
There's a war on. A missing child. Rumors of race riots. A Miss Chattanooga contest. An escaped German POW. A canary. And the whole thing goes tumbling pell-mell towards a bizarre conclusion.