By Gervase Phinn
Years ago, before I began to write a blog of book reviews I read, what at the time were, all of Gervase Phinn’s books of reminiscences of his time as a school inspector. I thought they were great. Trouble At The Little Village School is the first of his fictional stories that I have read.
Set at Barton-In-The-Dale school, in his county of Yorkshire, Elisabeth Devine the school’s headmistress, having successfully fended off closure of her school, now has another problem. Her school is to be merged into a consortium and it is far from certain who will be the consortium’s head teacher, especially if a certain loud councillor has any say, or maybe I should say ‘sway’ in the matter.
Phinn gives us a rich array of characters, from Mrs Sloughthwaite who runs the village shop, and knows every one and juicy bit of gossip in the village, to Miss Sowerbutts, predecessor of Elisabeth Devine as head of the school, as sour a character as her name might suggest.
From Malcolm Stubbins, recalictrant youth obsessed with football, to Danny Stainthorp, living with the village doctor after his grandfather died, who loves the outdoor life in the countryside.
Trouble At The Little Village School is written with a much warmth and humour that I remember from his early books about his time as a school inspector. Phinn stays with the subject he knows best, and it shows. He paints a picture of the drama of village life that has you cheering for some characters and, if it were a panto, you’s be booing some of them too.
Trouble At The Little Village School is an easy going read that had me chuckling at it’s good humoured look at village life.
“Tha know where thy are we’ ferrets. Ya never know
where ya are we’ lasses” :- Danny Stainthorp.