In this second volume of the Bernard Jones Diaries, retired civil servant Bernard Jones is approaching his 64th birthday. Making money through investing remains as elusive as ever, though his overbearing and over-sexed wife Eunice finds no trouble spending it. Hell's Bells, the share club started at the Ring o'Bells pub by a coterie of dubious acquaintances, seems to be a better forum for gawping at barmaids and consuming pork scratchings than it is for an elevated debate over price earnings ratios and dividend yields.
As ever, Bernard's family, Guardian-reading schoolteacher son Brian, dopey daughter Jemima and malevolent grandchild Digby (a.k.a. The Antichrist) all seem to stand in the way of his reaching financial nirvana. Worst of all is Bernard's dotty mother Dot, who holds in her palsied hands an inheritance that can make or break the family.
Bernard is an emblem for the thousands of small investors whose stories of struggle and persistence are never told, an operating prophet for those weighed down by a demanding spouse-to-earnings ratio.