The Eddie Dickens Trilogy
is a series of books written by Philip Ardagh, British author of children's books. In an author's note for American readers at the beginning of the first book, Ardagh claims that the books were written in installments of letters for his nephew Ben, who was away at boarding school. The plot of these books revolves around Eddie Dickens, a young boy living in Victorian England. Eddie is a boy of average mind, for his time, but unfortunately, everyone around him is inexplicably insane
In the first book, A House Called Awful End,
(Simply Awful End
in the UK) Eddie's parents (who are suffering from an unnamed disease that makes them yellow and crinkly around the edges) send him off to live with his great uncle, Mad Uncle Jack
, and his great aunt, Even Madder Aunt Maud
. After an unfortunate incident involving a pocket watch and the Empress of All China
, Eddie is sent off to an orphanage and must use his wits to escape.
In the second book, Dreadful Acts,
Eddie's family has moved into Awful End with his aunt and uncle. Eddie falls in love with a girl and becomes involved in an unfortunate plot revolving around murderous criminals. This book involves the Great Zucchini, a giant fake cow named Marjorie, and British moors.
In the third and final book, Terrible Times,
Eddie is sent to America on a ship. To his credit, Eddie expects the worst when his trip is interrupted by a criminal, a man called Jolly Roger, and the infamous Dog's Bone Diamond.
Was followed up by a second trilogy
called The Further Adventures of Eddie Dickens.
This series provides examples of:
- Acceptable Ethnic Targets: Parodied when the narrator feels the need to explain that a certain character's ethnicity has nothing to do with his being a Jerkass, so there's no need to get upset over the stereotype.
- Badass Beard: Lampshaded a few times.
- Better than a Bare Bulb: Take a shot at every Lampshade Hanging and you'll be drunk in no time. Arguably an excellent example of Tropes Are Not Bad.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Mad Uncle Jack and Even Madder Aunt Maud.
- Companion Cube: Even Madder Aunt Maud carries around a stuffed stoat that she talks to. No one knows whether the stoat's name is Sally or Malcolm.
- Happily Married: Despite being completely bonkers and living in separate buildings (one in a treehouse made of dried fish, the other in a cow-shaped carnival float), Mad Uncle Jack and Even Madder Aunt Maud are shown to be very happy together.
- In Which a Trope Is Described
- Lemony Narrator: To a hilarious extent.
- Market-Based Title: In America, the book's title was changed to A House Called Awful End because it is uncommon for homes to be named there.
- Meanwhile Scene: Lampshaded, and nearly inverted. (Initially, instead of telling us what transpired during the meanwhile scene, Ardagh states that Eddie ended up in the orphanage and we may not get to find out how.)
- Medium Awareness: Eddie's father knows he's a character in a book, and he doesn't seem to be very happy about it.
- Noodle Incident: In A House Called Awful End, we're told of an incident on Eddie's sixteenth birthday involving a lady hypnotist called the Great Gretcha, which "is another story."
- Only Sane Man: Eddie. And how. This series practically defines that trope.
- Rule of Funny
- Surrounded by Idiots
- Uncanny Family Resemblance: Eddie has a cousin who looks exactly like him.
- World Gone Mad
- X Meets Y: According to this review, the books are "over-the-top farcical romps that mix Charles Dickens and Monty Python to create a sort of British Lemony Snicket."