Trouble in the Village (by Rebecca Shaw)

I'm not entirely sure why I keep picking up books by Rebecca Shaw, in charity shops. I've read several now, over the past few years. Her characters are flat and not really believable; the writing is full of cliches and brief mentions of incidents and subplots. The dialogue doesn't ring true, and the plot in general is convoluted.

Not exactly a recipe for an author to look out for. But, in January, I saw 'Trouble in the Village' in a thrift shop, for a euro... and since I didn't have it (yes, I do have about eight others in this series...) I bought it. It sat on my to-be-read shelf for eight months, but I picked it up about a week ago, wanting something light and undemanding to read at night.

As with others in this village series about the fictional 'Turnham Malpas', this story was strangely compulsive. This book features a couple of young thugs who suddenly come into some money, a new verger for the church who evidently isn't quite what he seems to be, a vicious attack on two citizens of the village, a protest against the planned destruction of a hedge, and a man who turns over a new leaf when his wife takes a job and goes to live somewhere else. I was interested enough to keep reading, as I wanted - in a low-key way - to find out what was going on in each of these unlikely subplots.

In a way, the whole series is rather like a TV soap in books, although when I've read one, I usually have NO desire to read any more for at least a few more months. By the end of this book I had become used to the annoying style once more, but I did rather wonder why I bothered.

Not really recommended.

Having said that, Rebecca Shaw's books are remarkably popular in some circles. If you like this series, 'Trouble in the Village' is no worse than any of the others, and marginally more exciting than some.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 1st October 2010

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