Saturday, 3 March 2012
Title: The Girls
Author: John Bowen
Year of publication: 1986, Grafton edition 1987
Back cover blurb: WHAT HAVE THE GIRLS PUT IN THEIR SEPTIC TANK?
Janet and Susan shared everything. They stocked the rural Gift Shop they ran with hand-stitched smocks, goats' milk cheese, and their own celebrated elderflower wine. They slept in the same bed. They were contented.
But when an escaped boar wrecked their shop, the event was a harbinger of worse to come. For some reason, the outside world seemed determined to undermine the delicate equilibirum of hteir unothordox domestic happiness.
And when Susan showed signs of restlessness and Jan had it off in the back of a Transit with an early musical instrument salesman, the seeds of much future trouble were sown. But just how far would hte Girls go in defence of their private world?
Quick flick reveals: There aren't many writing careers that can incorporate writing for Hetty Wainthrop Investigates and earning praise from Gore Vidal, but John Bowen has managed just that. This looks like a highly readable, highly eccentric gem, full of quirky details and possibly the odd murder.
Random paragraph: '"I've brought a urine sample." It was in a wine bottle, carefully corked. Usually the girls recycled bottles for their own wine-making, but Jan was disposed to be generous. "You can keep the bottle."