Paperback: The small, gossipy English village of Turnham Malpas is the real protagonist of this entertaining first novel about life among the mannered, self-conscious British from Easter to Christmas of one year.
New to town is handsome married pastor Peter Harris, who soon will react to a rather selfish suicide, figure out who pulled some nasty pranks on the town spinster and solve the murder of a local schoolteacher.
The narrative is filled with drama, though the most dramatic writing has less to do with homicide than with the neurosis surrounding so-called ''proper'' behavior.
Isn't Suzy Meadows's dress, wonder the townspeople, a bit tight and flashy for a mourning widow? And who will occupy the murdered woman's house now that it's vacant?
With understanding and sympathy, English writer Shaw captures the tradition-bound, rural sensibility of people who ordinarily mean well but who have trouble communicating with each other. Sending up the British stereotypes (the repressed spinster, the noble gardener) that Americans often relish, she seems to be writing with Yankee Anglophiles in mind.
About the author: Rebecca Shaw was a former school teacher and the bestselling author of many novels. She lived with her husband in a beautiful Dorset village where she found plenty of inspiration for her stories about rural life. Rebecca did not start writing until later in life, once her four children had left home. She was inspiration to many who thought perhaps they had left things too late. She spoke about her experiences as a writer at many writers conferences and meetings.
Rebecca sadly died on 7 September 2015. During her lifetime Rebecca sold more than one million books. She has been translated and sold in Denmark, Germany, Hungary and Norway. She is also published in the United States. All her books remain in print, which is a tribute to the enduring popularity of her work.