A Pen dipped in poison

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A cozy, crazy tapestry of lives and loves, heartfelt friends, caring onlookers and the others, the-not-so-kind, who are willing to cross the line to make their lives that little bit of better.

Based in the Yorkshire town of Thirsk, and told in the the voices of three retired primary-school teachers, this second volume in the lovely mystery series, (written by an author who is himself a school head teacher), is just the sort of read to carry you through a grey and wintry afternoon. Chock full of good sense, earnest and charitable works, gossip and yearnings, the author deftly captures the mood and mayhem of village life, centering on the academia and challenges associated with present-day schooling.

As schools around the country are swallowed up by “big-business” trusts, privatization comes at a cost, churning lives in its wake as new opportunities are presented – albeit those stemming from both necessary changes, and the inevitable self-driven corruption.

As Thelma, Liz and Pat, our sturdy but vulnerable heroines, work their way through the muddle of madness sparked by St Barnabus’s progression (unraveling?), we are introduced to a cast of characters as robust and colorful as any you are likely to meet between the pages.

From the Spice-Girls loving Office Assistant, to the “Zombie-boy” innocence of former-student turned teacher, we are introduced to the flashy, the troubled, the “pains-in-the-neck” and the secret lovers – all of it combining into a strangely-cohesive jumble as intoxicating as any reader’s favorite BBC soap.

A twisty, comfy, warm and lovely read, I thoroughly enjoyed this charming book, looking forward to the next installment in this well-crafted series.

A great big thank you to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.


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