Author: D.E. Stevenson
Series: Miss Buncle, book 1
Review: I picked this up at random on Amazon based on automatic recommendations and rather enjoyed this book. It was recommended because I like Flavia de Luce series and there are some parallels here. The story is basically a character study set in the middle-of-nowhere English town during the great depression.
Barbara Buncle is a middle-aged spinster whose stipend all but disappears with the hard times. So she decided to write a book about the town she lives in with all the characters based on real persons. To her surprise the book is a bestseller. However, the people of the town are not so excited to find their flaws and follies published for the world to see.
There really isn't much in terms of plot to this book -- it mostly describes life in a small English town. But it does so entertainingly and the characters are quite vivid and enjoyable. Definitely my cup of tea.
My biggest problem with this book is Barbara Buncle herself. She is so grey and nondescript that no one believes she could write that book -- and no one believes her even when she admits to writing it. And I agree with the other characters' assessment, it doesn't seem possible that in her naivete and conservatism she would be able to write something quite so spot on and edge cutting. Just because she is in a good position to observe doesn't mean she would be able to put it together and that's the part I didn't find very believable. It's kind of odd to have this somewhat unlikable person as a main character.
My other issue is Miss Buncle's romance with her publisher. Perhaps it's just the times have changed, but I thought the proposal was really out of nowhere and the fact that she just decides to accept without harboring any particular feelings is odd to me as well. There are more books in the series and I am a little curious to see how Miss Buncle's marriage fares in those, but I am not actually sure that I liked this enough to read more of the series. It's an entertaining little book, but considering only the main character carries on to the next novel, I am not sure I am excited about continuing. Perhaps if I am in the right mood...