By Diana Wynne Jones
Whilst Mig and Chris visit stick with nice Aunt Maria within the claustrophobic city of Cranberry-on-Sea, Chris falls so foul of his nice aunt that he is changed into a wolf, and Mig has unforeseen assist in her dramatic bid to avoid wasting him. The author's different books comprise "Archer's Goon".
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Additional info for Black Maria
I think he is a lawyer. Elaine took her black coat off and hung it on a chair, but it didn’t make much difference. She had a black dress underneath. She talked to Chris mostly in a loud jolly voice, saying things like, ‘And what were you up to all day, my lad? ’ This made Chris wriggle rather and grin, but he didn’t seem annoyed. Mum started another sweater sleeve. I think she is knitting clothes for an octopus. I tried to draw a picture of Aunt Maria, but I couldn’t show anyone because it went wrong and made her look like an insect.
So we call him that now. I keep thinking of Chris seeing a large red pirate parrot, and then I remember he said ‘court jester’ too, so I correct the red parrot into one of those white ones with a yellow crest that are really cockatoos. I think their crests look like jester’s caps, and ghosts should be white. But I just can’t imagine a man looking like that. Chris told me more about the ghost at intervals all through the day. I think he was glad to have someone to tell. But I know there were things he didn’t tell, and I keep wondering why, and what they were.
It was after that that we got lost. The wood went steeply up and steeply down. We never saw the fields, or even the sea, and we didn’t know where we were until I realised that the wind always came in from the sea. So in order to find Cranbury again we had to face into the wind. We might have been wandering all night if we hadn’t done that. I said it was a witch-wood trying to keep us for ever. ’ But I think he was quite scared too: it was all so empty and twisted. Anyway, I think what we must have done was to go right up the valley behind Cranbury and then along the hill on the other side.