‘“It was Uncle who was your father,” she said.’
So begins SF Edition No. 33: The Secret Orchard of Roger Ackerley, Diana Petre’s utterly unselfpitying and often very funny account of what must be one of the oddest childhoods on record. Diana and her twin sisters were abandoned in 1912 by their mother, the enigmatic Mrs Muriel Perry, whose real name and true identity were a mystery. After an absence of ten years, Muriel reappeared and took charge of her children, with disastrous results. For the girls, one of the highlights of their isolated lives were visits from a kindly man they knew as ‘Uncle Bodger’. In fact, as Muriel finally revealed, he was their father, Roger Ackerley.