Abandoned by their uncle and aunt, Kevin and Sandra run away to Gumble's Yard, a deserted row of cottages on the canal bank. But the cottages are not as empty as they thought. Strange people come and go, mysterious boxes keep arriving, and the children soon find themselves caught up in a dangerous chain of events. This book was unique when it was first published and over the years has come to be recognized as one of the ground-breaking books of the millennium. John Rowe Townsend is a significant author, without whom writers such as Robert Cormier and Judy Blume might not have been recognized. This gripping story has stood the test of time in the way the children are left alone to become completely self-reliant. John Rowe Townsend lives in Cambridge.