An unlikely con man wagers wife, wealth, and sanity in pursuit of an elusive Old Master.
Invited to dinner by the boorish local landowner, Martin Clay, an easily distracted philosopher, and his art-historian wife are asked to assess three dusty paintings blocking the draught from the chimney. But hiding beneath the soot is nothing less--Martin believes--than a lost work by Bruegel. So begins a hilarious trail of lies and concealments, desperate schemes and soaring hopes as Martin, betting all that he owns and much that he doesn't, embarks on a quest to prove his hunch, win his wife over, and separate the painting from its owner.
A semi-autobiographical first novel by an eighty-five-year-old retirement home resident, this charmer chronicles the lives of the retirees at Fair Acres Home. Told in journal form, the entries are touching, funny, and always entertaining.
As he delays opening a letter which might bring him promotion--or rejection--a Protestant minister looks back on a life full of temptation and doubt. A witty look at the ministry by a writer who himself is a minister.
"Through a choreographed round of fetes, parties, and other occasions, Thirkell introduces a series of intrigues - romantic, literary, and personal - as well as a few intriguing strangers to the country houses and village lanes of Barsetshire."
"In this introduction to Neely, North Carolina, the young narrator, Louis Benfield, recounts the tragic last days of Miss Myra Angelique Pettigrew, a local spinster and former town belle who, after years of total seclusion, returns flamboyantly to public view--with her pet monkey, Mr. Britches. Here is a teeming human comedy inhabited by some of the most eccentric and endearing characters ever encountered in literature."
Ned Henry is badly in need of a rest. He's been shuttling between the 21st century and the 1940s searching for a Victorian atrocity called the bishop's bird stump. It's part of a project to restore the famed Coventry Cathedral, destroyed in a Nazi air raid over a hundred years earlier.