A se­lec­tion of favourite ti­tles cho­sen by the read­ers of Ev­er­green

Evergreen - - Spring 2016 -

All the way from Scotts­bluff, Ne­braska, in the Great Plains re­gion of the United States of Amer­ica, came a let­ter from Mrs. Bunni Slater who lives with her hus­band in a re­tire­ment cen­tre there. Over the years the cou­ple have trav­elled ex­ten­sively around the United King­dom, and dur­ing all their vis­its Bunni has en­joyed dis­cov­er­ing our coun­try’s writ­ers as much as she has rel­ished ex­plor­ing the towns, vil­lages and pic­turesque coun­try­side. She tells me that in 1989 she be­gan record­ing the books she read: her list of mys­ter­ies alone stands at 1,100 au­thors, 604 of whom are Bri­tish.

One of her favourite writ­ers is Ed­in­burgh- born nov­el­ist D. E. Steven­son ( 1892- 1973), and in par­tic­u­lar her Miss Bun­cle se­ries of books: Miss Bun­cle’s Book ( 1934), Miss Bun­cle Mar­ried ( 1936) and The Two Mrs. Ab­botts ( 1943). They have re­cently been re­pub­lished by Perse­phone Books, who de­scribe Miss Bun­cle’s Book on their web­site:

“Bar­bara Bun­cle, who is un­mar­ried and per­haps in her late 30s, lives in a small vil­lage and writes a novel about it in or­der to try and sup­ple­ment her mea­gre in­come. In this re­spect she is at one with Miss Pet­ti­grew and Miss Ran­skill, two other un­mar­ried women who, not hav­ing sub­sumed their ex­is­tence into that of a man, have to find a way of look­ing af­ter them­selves. There are some se­ri­ous mo­ments, for ex­am­ple when the doc­tor’s chil­dren are, very briefly, kid­napped ( as a way of try­ing to force their mother to ad­mit that she wrote the book; which she did not). But the se­ri­ous­ness is min­i­mal — mostly this is an en­tirely light- hearted, easy read.”

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