The Girls Book
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RELEASE DATE - 18 DECEMBER 2023
A wry, macabre tale of simple living, brutal murder, and a reasonably happy couple.
In their lovely old Cotswolds village, Janet and Susan are known to all the other villagers as "the girls"--a fixture. Partners in love and work, co-proprietors of a picturesque shop specializing in the work of local artisans and farmers, they lead an enviable, enviably settled life.
So it's no catastrophe when Sue, the younger of the two, feels the need to take a month to travel on her own, leaving Jan alone to run their stall at the Inland Waterways Rally Craft Fair. Nor is it any real threat when a kindly gay man named Alan lends Jan a hand in Sue's absence, or when the two wind up sharing some wine and even a bunk for the night.
If Jan turns out to be pregnant some weeks after Sue's return to the nest, what's that but cause for joy? And when Alan happens to come visiting, by and by, finding the delighted girls raising a beautiful baby boy, who can blame him for wanting to share in a small part of their bliss?
Yes, theirs is an enviable, enviably settled life. And the girls will defend it with every tool at their disposal.
"An unqualified delight . . . Bowen rates superlatives for his alternately moving, frightening, hilarious novel and--above all--for the unsuspected, ultimate surprise."
"Of all the writers of suspense novels, John Bowen is the most startlingly offbeat: politely he leads you down the garden path--look at the roses, he murmurs, the dismembered foot, the Victorian teahouse which contains . . . satisfying horror!"
"The trappings of this sly little novel are like the crumbs leading Hansel and Gretel to gingerbread danger . . . [For] people who like Myra Breckinridge as well as Miss Marple; fans of Beryl Bainbridge, Russell Greenan and Patricia Highsmith; those who feel Barbara Pym-ish on some days and Stephen King-ish on others."
Michele Slung "Washington Post"