"...everyone knew that people in villages were different."
Barbara Pym's last novel, A Few Green Leaves, is about life in a West Oxfordshire village. Emma Howick, a single anthropologist in her thirties, has come to this village to do some research for her next paper and observe the customs and characters living in this village. And there are plenty of characters: Tom, the widowed rector, "who might sill marry again"; Daphne, the rector's single sister, who dreams of living in a white-washed Greek cottage somewhere on the Aegean; old Dr. G. who prefers his patients to be young, and young Dr. Shrubsole, who has an interest in geriatrics; Graham Pettifer, Emma's ex-lover, who unexpectedly turns up at the village to work on his next book; and Miss Lee, Miss Grundy, and Miss Lickerish, the bevy of spinsters that seem to be a given in any Barbara Pym novel. As Emma observed, "There was obviously material for note here." And the possibility of romance as well.
While there's no mystery or psychological suspense in a Pym novel, there is humor and characters to which you quickly become attached. A Few Green Leaves follows life in a small English village over a summer. It's charming, well-written, and thoroughly enjoyable. Pym does it again! I've read four other Pym novels: Excellent Women, Some Tame Gazelle, Jane and Prudence, and Quartet in Autumn. They are all worth checking out.