**A MERVYN PEAKE FOR THE NEW CENTURY**
Observatory Mansions was once the Orme family's ancestral home. Now it is a crumbling apartment block, stranded on a traffic island and peopled with eccentrics.
Alice Orme never stirs from her bed, her husband lives in his old armchair, and Francis, their son, practises his own art of stillness as a human statue in the centre of the decaying city. He lives by his Law of White Gloves, never touching anything without their protection, and collects items for his secret exhibition - items stolen, not because of any monetary worth, but because they are treasured by the owners.