The New Rector (by Rebecca Shaw)

I have mixed feelings about Rebecca Shaw's books. I find the plots generally interesting, in a soap-opera kind of way, and some of the people intriguing. Yet the characters are mostly fairly shallow and the conversations a bit trite. Still, they're good light reading and if I find one in someone else's home, or a charity shop, I usually pick it up.

'The New Rector' is first in the Turnham Malpas series. Peter and Caroline are new to the village. Peter is a clergyman, but seems rather naive. He soon finds himself having to comfort the recently bereaved Suzy Meadows, a risky situation.

Meanwhile, some teenagers are running wild, and a nasty joke is played on Muriel, an elderly spinster. She is devastated, but then cheered by the arrival in the village of an old friend called Ralph.

The subplots are cleverly intertwined, and the people fairly believable on the whole. Slightly more violence than I'm comfortable with, but pleasant light reading on the whole. Re-issued in the year 2000, and still in print in the UK.

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