Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins decide to leave their employer, Lady Literature, and go for a tour of the north of England. They assume the identities of Francis Goodchild (Dickens) and Thomas Idle (Collins). Idle prefers to do absolutely nothing, but Goodchild is "laboriously idle" and only feels idle if he is actively doing something that is a waste of time. As the two idlers idle their way through the North in their disparate idiosyncratic ways mild hilarity and tall tales ensue. Collins wrote the first three parts of their fictionalised travelogue, and Dickens the final two parts.
Prior knowledge of Dickens and Collins will make this book far more delightful. And, taking the time to savor the language and descriptions is essential. With those two ingredients, this collaboration of the two great authors, poking fun at each other, their literary styles, their real-life journey together, and a few English customs they both embrace and abhor, makes for an entertaining read. Add a couple ghost stories and you have a recipe for fun.