In LAUGHTER ON THE STAIRS, Nichols continues his tale of the restoration of Merry Hall and it's grounds. Just after WWII, Nichols purchased a derelict Georgian House and it's tattered grounds, and with the help of his 'man' Gaskins, and the able Oldfield, who had worked the grounds for most of his life, he began a restoration project.
MERRY HALL was written about six years into the project, and focused on the grounds. LAUGHTER ON THE STAIRS takes place a few years, when later Nichols has turned his attention to the interior of the old Georgian House. The former owner, a Mr. Stebbing had very Victorian tastes, which Nichols dislikes, and has tried to erase. At last, he plans to address the staircase, where a stained-glass window that was "unquestionably..most alarming" overhang the landing.
Nichols nosey-parker neighbor Rose doesn't want to see the house altered. She remembers the days when Mr. Stebbing was the owner, and she does not approve of the new owner's changes. She was particularly outraged by the savage destruction of the old boxwood hedge. Now, Nichols proposes to destroy the lovely stainglass window Mr. Stebbing had installed over the staircase. Of course Merry Hall is Nichol's house and he can do what he likes, but he is concerned about the neighbors reactions to his plans. The story takes an interesting twist when burglers break in one night and in a strange way help him solve the dilemma.
This is a light and amusing book, and one I found very intertaining reading before bedtime.