I have frequently seen, although not previously read, Gervase Phinn’s books. They have the same kind of quality as MC Beaton’s various mysteries, set in a lovely little country village where everyone knows everyone and everyone’s business. Nothing complicated, and yet things happen. Like with The Archers.
The Little Village School, about the new appointment of a village primary headteacher and the effect on the village, might well have been about a village school rather like the one I attended. Except that when we needed a new head, the old one was glad to go and the new was already a teacher at the school. And, with its three teachers plus a head, Barton-in-the-Dale’s school is bigger.
And they weren’t trying to close the school. The Little Village School is the story of a fight to save a village school from closure and the greedy hands of corrupt people in charge.
It is, really, a gentle sort of a book. Honest. There’s no crime or real violence – just a playground fight and farm accidents – and life goes on. And yet it isn’t boring. Because, people. The characters aren’t quite stereotypes, and yet you’d recognise them if you’ve ever lived in a village.
For the most part, I enjoyed this mostly happy tale – certainly it didn’t feel like a chore to read! – and I would recommend to anyone who wants to read about people.