Terry Early's announcement that he and Susan Rickworth intend to marry rouses the fury of the formidable Alice, Terry's mother, on account of a previous relationship between her and Reuben Rickworth, Susan's father. Sam Early is caught in the middle of this and his peace of mind – as that of his crony, Joe – is shattered. Alice's sudden demise, following her handling of a faulty electric kettle lent her by the inquisitive neighbour, Mabel, promises a peaceful solution. But Alice as a vengeful ghost is even more formidable than as a living wife and mother. Much drama ensues in which both families – and Mabel – are involved before Alice's ashes can be persuaded to lie quiet in her urn, until Sam is ready to join her.